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Life > High School


The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Tampa chapter.

College application season, AKA the worst time of the year for high school seniors, is here. Now, we are in the scariest part of the season: the waiting room. Most of your applications are done and submitted, but now you have to wait 1-4 months to see if you actually got into your dream school. This is a debilitating, torturous wait. Trust me when I say this: I understand. But, at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do to make the decision come faster. 

These months in purgatory were some of the worst months of my life. As someone who survives off an IV of academic validation injected directly into my veins, the thought of not getting into any of my dream schools made me sick to my stomach (Spoiler Alert: I got waitlisted. From all of them). There’s nothing worse than seeing your friends getting accepted into “good” schools while you’ve only heard back from one safety school. 

Seniors, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to protect your mental health during this time of year. Coming from a girl who let college application season eat her alive, I hope you take my advice so you don’t turn out like me.

1. Who Cares About the Acceptance Rate? 

Acceptance rates were the downfall of my college application season. I made the mistake of only applying to schools with low acceptance rates because, to be perfectly candid, I needed academic validation. Not because I fell in love with the school. Two big mistakes came out of my stupid decision:

  1. I got rejected from most of the schools I applied to, resulting in many therapy sessions spent uncontrollably crying.
  2. The only thing I loved about those colleges was the acceptance rate. Now that I am in a school that I actually love, I look back and see that most of the colleges I applied to would have been a horrible fit for me.

Acceptance rates are an arbitrary way of determining the right school for you. If the only determination for you to apply to a school is two numbers, you need to rethink your decision.

2. One Person’s ‘Bad’ School is Another Person’s Good School

Your friend who’s always trying to take one more AP class than you is most definitely not the CEO of deciding which colleges are good or bad. There are so many factors that go into making any big decision, and not everyone prioritizes the same one. One person’s bright blue, obnoxiously loud Dodge Challenger dream car definitely appears in another person’s nightmares. Never let the girl with a 4.0 and enough money to pay for the whole school’s tuition tell you what schools are “good” or “bad.” A good school to her might look like a 90k/year private school five states away from home. A good school to you may look like a 20k/year public school half an hour from home.

Everyone has different priorities, interests, and aspirations that affect their decisions. It is ridiculous to assume that you and all of your friends are going to consider the same factors with the same amount of weight.

3. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others

“Two humans are completely different from each other, comparing them is like insulting nature.” -Nitin Namdeo

I know it’s hard when you see your friends getting into better schools than you. It really sucks. You look back on your entire high school career and think, “where did I go so wrong?” You didn’t. You are not your friend. There are reasons that other people are getting accepted into schools you got rejected from. You may never know those reasons, but you need to learn to be okay with that. Once I came to terms with the fact that I may never know why someone got into a better school than I did, my quality of life increased dramatically. Do not think for even a second that your college acceptances are a reflection of you as a person. You are so much more than your education.

It’s weird to say, but treat your college decision like a relationship: if they don’t want you, you definitely do not want them.

Elena Duncan is a writer for Her Campus at the University of Tampa chapter. She primarily writes about her latest reads, topics in the news, and maybe a little Taylor Swift. Elena is a Freshman at the University of Tampa studying Political Science with a minor in Professional Education. She is passionate about making political education accessible and understandable to all. Elena went on an education abroad trip with UT to Costa Rica and studied Tropical Biology and Environmental Sustainability. Because of that, she is now a Global Ambassador for UT where she encourages students to get involved in the education abroad program. In her free time, Elena enjoys browsing Goodreads for new books to put on her TBR, rewatching TV shows, and playing The Sims. Her hometown of Eatontown, New Jersey is a short drive to the Jersey Shore which she loves to take advantage of. When she’s home she spends her time hanging out with her friends, driving down Ocean Ave with the windows down, and eating a lot of bagels. If you can’t find her -day and night- she is probably trying a new ice cream shop.