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5 Important Lessons To Keep in Mind During College Acceptance Season

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

After years of hard work and months of application prep, your college acceptance letters are beginning to trickle into your inbox. Some messages are elating and others devastating, as you find your March and April consumed by stress and indecision. I remember this chaos of hearing back from schools during my senior year of high school. It felt like I’d only ever received advice on how to send in my applications, never on what to do afterward. If you are currently finding yourself in a maelstrom of college acceptance confusion, here are five important lessons I want you to keep top of mind:

Even Applying Is A Win

Take a deep breath and look at the big picture: you’ve experienced high school during a pandemic. You’ve jumped through all of the confusing hoops necessary to submit your applications. You had the courage and drive to take the first step in pursuing higher education! No matter what messages you receive back from universities, these accomplishments are major successes in and of themselves. If you ever find yourself feeling down about a perhaps less than desirable response from a school, force yourself to remember these key facts. You already have so much to be proud of and nothing to feel ashamed about.

fully appreciate Every Acceptance

Each school that accepts you saw something special in your specific application. They recognized that you are a hard worker, a passionate scholar and a budding leader. They perceived your intellectual curiosity, unique skillset and special point of view. Out of all of the thousands of applications that schools receive each year, and during an acceptance process that only gets harder and harder, you were selected. It doesn’t matter the name, type or prestige of the school that sent you a “yes!” Every acceptance is an acceptance worthy of celebration, and don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

Embrace The System’s Randomness

At the same time, you must keep in mind that a level of randomness always plays a role in the application cycle. You will probably get into schools that are more traditionally higher ranked than schools that reject you. If you compare your letters to those of your friends, you will also likely find inconsistencies between your expectations of people’s college results and their actual acceptances. All of this feels confusing, but it’s actually super normal. There is no formula for who gets into each college. Understanding that there will always be an unknown factor out of your control can help free you from any regrets or competitive thoughts during the acceptance season.

Schools Are More Than Their Names

Please, please, please remember that colleges’ names are not everything! An Ivy League university is not essentially better than a community college. The quality of a school truly depends on how well it matches a particular student. Other elements that are often more important than names alone include campus culture, financial accessibility, course offerings, location and so much more. Reminding yourself of the over-emphasis on school’s names is a great way to help you feel better if you don’t receive the letters you were hoping for and when you are weighing the pros and cons of each school you get into.

Resist The Urge To Immediately Post

I know that when you hear back positively from the school of your dreams, your first instinct might be to take to Instagram or Twitter. Of course, it’s well within your rights to honor your achievements on your socials, but I would counsel you to put a little thought into if you want to make your acceptances public. Firstly, for many reasons, you might end up changing your mind and not going to the school that you initially post about. Secondly, it’s always kind to keep in mind that friends and peers might not have received the same good news. So, I generally recommend you wait until your decision is finalized before posting any official announcements online.

As you continue to hear back from schools throughout the rest of the month, I hope that these tips provide you with some perspective. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment, you will end up at the school that’s right for you. So, pat yourself on the back for making it this far and look forward to the wonderful college years ahead of you!

Kate is a third-year English major at UCLA, hailing from San Francisco. When she's not editing articles for Her Campus at UCLA, she enjoys getting lost in a good book and experimenting with vegan recipes.