Hello everyone! So, I know this is not normally a college admissions advice blog, but I know a lot of my readers are around the age of applying to college/university, and I just wanted to give a few words of wisdom. Let me set the stage.
I didn't really understand what applying to college meant until around 11th grade. I'm the oldest child in my family, so my parents were kind of clueless. They had both only applied to one or two schools, and the application process was clearly very different back in the stone age (jokes). Basically, we were pretty lost on what the process entailed. Thankfully, my school has a wonderful, comprehensive college counseling department, so by springtime in 11th grade, I had a preliminary list of schools I wanted to apply to. That spring break, my parents took my younger brother and I on a roadtrip around New England/New York to see all of these schools on my list and get a feel for what I was really getting into.
Most of my assumptions about college surrounded Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut album; see "Campus"
My preliminary list was mainly small, private liberal arts schools, and it remained fairly constant throughout the next couple of months while I was completing my Common Application and sending everything in. As of now, I've heard back from four of the school's I've applied to: one deferral, three acceptances. While I can't speak on how to deal with rejection because I haven't experienced it yet (yet, because I have many more highly selective schools to hear back from), I feel like offering a little advice to anyone about to hear back from colleges. Whether it's your dream school or your safety school, I swear by these tips, and you should too.
1. Open your decision ALONE.
I'm sure you've heard this one before, and there's a multitude of reasons why it's better to be the first and only person to see your college decision results before you're ready to tell anyone else. You don't want to check it in front of a big group of friends - what if you get rejected and feel embarrassed? What if one of your friends got rejected from said school and you get in... how do you think they feel? This tip goes for family members, too. Even if your mother/father/sibling insists they are with you when you check your admissions portal on the computer or rip open your letter, make sure they give you some space. Face the other direction so they don't know what the result is until you tell them (whether it's through body language, facial expressions, or words).
2. Open your decision AT HOME.
Like the first one, this is a matter of privacy, and in some cases, safety. If you open a decision at school and end up getting rejected, you could be a crying mess - and if you drove to school that day, it's probably going to be too dangerous for you to drive home. Remember in Driver's Ed when they said "don't drive if you're too emotional?" Listen to them. Wait until you get home to check your decision. If it's good, you can celebrate with your friends after, and if it's not so good, you can curl up in your bed and cry for the next few hours.
3. Keep decisions PRIVATE until you feel like it's unnecessary.
If your best friend knows you're finding out about your top school and she asks you "what's the verdict?," it's totally up to you whether or not you tell her. I've decided to keep all of my decisions private until I actually decide where I'm going to matriculate in the fall. It's especially important to consider the feelings of others during college decision time. While you may want to tell your close friends, these results aren't something you should share with the whole entire high school. Be respectful of others and try not to brag/mope/talk about it 24/7.
4. Don't feel guilty for being disappointed
Hey, if you don't get into your top choice, cry it out. Be emotional. Don't tell yourself you're not good enough, don't compare yourself to a peer that got into said institution. Don't beat yourself up about feeling so attached to one school. While it's not an ideal situation, it happens to almost everyone, and you will get over it.
5. Whatever happens, know that it's not set in stone
This is probably the most forgotten part of the college admissions process. Didn't get into your top school? Still in love with it? Go to another school and transfer after a year or two! Really not happy with anywhere you were admitted? Take a gap year and work! Nervous about the school you chose? Try to make a campus visit and do as much research as you can about dorm life, choosing your classes, the dynamic of the school in generally - knowing more will put you at ease.
While these might have been generic or obvious bits of advice, I think it's really important that everyone going through the college admissions process now or in the future know them. If all else fails, just remember: we're all in this together!