Disclaimer: This can apply to both undergraduate and graduate acceptance. This list excludes actual things you should be doing as an upcoming graduate student (like contacting professors you're interested in) or upcoming undergraduate student (like applying for scholarships).
So, you have finished your application. Fees have been paid or waived. Recommendations were submitted. Final edits of essays were uploaded. Standard tests scores have been sent. Now, comes the second to worst part: waiting. You could-
- Ignore It
Check your phone, watch that new Netflix show, endlessly scroll through instagram, do anything to not think about the life altering decision at your feet. Read that book you have had sitting on your shelf, except you should put it back down once you get to the fun part about the senior protagonist not getting into their dream school. Check Facebook and try to avoid all the posts of your graduated friends at college parties or going abroad. CheckTumblr and try to avoid studyblrs at your dream school, with aesthetic views of the library and cute campus cafe. Check Snapchat and try to avoid all the college hack stories. Actually, avoid all social media, anything can remind you right now. Just curl in a blanket and-
- Freak Out
But what if you don’t get into your dream school? What if no school wants you? What if you accidentally misspelled the school name in your application? You can’t check now. But you can check your email for a decision. You can check the mailbox. You can check your voicemails. You can pace the floors. You can pace the floors. You can pace the floors. You can-
Now that you have freaked out, because, let’s face it, we all have that pit in our stomach that we might not get into our dream school or maybe make the “wrong” choice in school, it is time to slow down.Take the time to sit and really process the amazing opportunity in front of you. You are pursuing your dream. You will get there. This is simply a step in the right direction. In the grand scheme of things, your college career, though impactful, is only a fraction of your life. However, now you can’t help but-
- Question Life
Do you really need that degree? You start to wonder if becoming a recluse in some mountain in Arizona might be a better option. The earth may only have 10 years left of humanity living comfortably and you’ll spend a good chunk of that in school. Einstein didn’t go to college or have a PhD. But this has been your dream since you were a kid. And you can't really let that mini-you down now. Now all you have to do is-
- Make a Decision. And Then Take It Back.
After you’ve made pros and cons, watched videos of campus tours, scrolled the twitter tag, and played with that cool puzzle toy they sent you, you’ve finally made a decision. You definitely know definitely where you are going to go. Except, maybe not. Your top school has a great program, but you’d have to live in the northeast. Your second school has a better climate. But it doesn't have that cool study abroad program. Would you have time for study abroad? Tuition is a bit pricey, but loans exist. How would you live looking at those school colors? Does that shade of orange go with your aesthetic? No, you need to take a step back and- Ignore It.
All this aside, it is perfectly normal to fret over this decision. However, do not discount your natural instinct. Visit campuses and speak with students. You will know what feels right. You know what is important to you. The right school may not be your first choice. I applied to my undergraduate institution on the day of the deadline and did not think it was where I would end up. But after visiting the campus and talking with all the welcoming staff, I knew where I belonged. I have never regretted my decision, no matter how many times the icy sidewalks try to take me out. The right place will be clear at the right time. And, if it doesn’t work out, you can always transfer. Keep your options open and know you will get in somewhere. For now, breathe and wait.