By Madeline Sneed
You’ve gone through your list of colleges, you’ve written your essays, and you took the final step: you hit submit and sent your applications off into the world to be evaluated by anonymous admissions boards across the country. You may have even heard back from a few of your schools!
As you wait for the final wave of admissions decisions to come out in April, the question must be lingering in your mind: Now what?
Well, first, congratulate yourself! You’ve successfully finished one of the most stressful times of your high school career. Applying to colleges is commendable, especially for those of you who took the time to write dozens of supplements for the various schools you applied to. For some of you, you’ve worked your entire high school lives for this moment. However, the work isn’t done quite yet.
This period of time is all about the waiting game. School still matters, volunteering still matters, and staying focused still matters. You may not be working on applications, but colleges will still review your final transcript, and if for some reason you have to appeal an admissions decision, you want to be able to list all that you have done since your initial application (and, as a side bar, if you need help with an appeal letter, our College Readiness team is more than willing to help). All of that sounds abstract, I’m sure, so here are some concrete things you can do as you await your final admissions decisions.
Keep working hard
One of the ways that you can make good use of your time is by refusing to slack off. It may seem tempting as graduation is only months away, but staying involved in your extracurricular activities, volunteering, and studying continuously will put you at a great advantage. Colleges appreciate students who continue to stay involved in their community despite having completed the application process. Additionally, forming good study habits now will help you tremendously once you get to college in the fall. If you’re in any AP classes, it’s especially important that you keep up with your studies because passing the AP exams in the spring will give you college credit hours. These college credit hours will help you place out of core requirements for your degree plan, which can help you graduate in four years or less.
Plan your college visits
By now, you’ve probably heard from at least a couple of schools that you applied to. While you wait for your final admissions decisions to roll in, it’s a good idea to plan visits to colleges that you have already been accepted to. When you visit the colleges, take a tour of the campus, meet with the department head of your major, and, if possible, stay with someone you know who is a student at the school. This will give you a good idea of what it is like to be a student at the university, and often these visits can solidify whether or not you want to attend the university. Take some time to explore the city where your school is located, too, as it could be where you spend the next four years of your life. If you’re super into coffee, make sure they have more than just a Starbucks on campus. If you’re into the arts, see what museums and theater the city has to offer. Love sports? Check out the campus’ football stadium, basketball arena, or baseball field. Basically, know yourself and know what is important to you in order for you to feel satisfied with the city in which you live.
While it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the college admissions process, it’s important to remember that this is the last time for several years that you’ll be living at home, minutes away from your family and high school friends. Make a bucket list of activities to do and restaurants to try in your hometown; take some time to explore the city. Don’t get so caught up in the next step (college) that you forget to live in the moment you’re in right now. In a word: relax. You’ll soon make your final decision, and you’ll be moving into your dorm before you know it, so enjoy the remaining months of high school.
This is a stressful time, no doubt. However, take a moment to be proud of all that you’ve accomplished throughout high school, and keep devoting your time to your various commitments. The admissions decisions will be here before you know it, so, in the meantime, make sure you’re doing all that you can to continue making yourself the best student possible.