Waiting for News

I was recently asked to do a piece for the Center for Student Opportunity‘s newsletter for Opportunity Scholars about waiting for “the letter.” I’ve included a link to it here. Whether you’re the first first generation student or the fifth child in your family to apply to college, the wait for news from the admission office can be excruciating. But if you think it through, you can make it through March and enjoy April as well as the rest of your senior year.

If you’ve applied carefully, you should have at least one acceptance. Even if it’s not from your “first” choice, remind yourself that the colleges you applied to are all good, and that you’ll probably be happy at any of them. In my experience, students who end up attending a third or even fourth choice school end up loving it, and often forget about the other choices not long after they arrive on campus. Also remember, there’s no “perfect,” so no matter where you go, there will be warts and kinks, unexpected setbacks and uncomfortable dorm rooms. You have the power to make you experience the best it can be no matter where you are, so use it.

Also, if you have some choices, enjoy April. That’s the month where you get some control of the process. Now colleges are hoping you’ll accept their offers, so take your time and make your decision after due deliberation. Take advantage of accepted student weekends and be sure to ask any questions you have that may have come up between applying and now. You’re making a big commitment, so don’t let the rush of good news overwhelm your better judgment.

Congratulations on getting through the process. And remember to thank mom, dad, your counselor, and your recommenders (especially your teachers). They helped make it all possible; sharing your good news is one of their big rewards.


About Will Dix

I am currently writing a book about college admission. I'm interested in the intersection of the college process and American culture. I attended Amherst College in the 1970s, taught high school English and theater at The Hill School in the '80s, returned to Amherst in the '90s as an admission dean, and began the '00s as a college counselor at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. I then joined Chicago Scholars as Program Director. Currently, I blog about college admission for Forbes.com. I also help community organizations serving low income students understand the college admission process so more students can consider gaining access to higher education. I have a few private college counseling clients that I take by referral only. The views expressed in this blog are mine alone.
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