5 Ways to Handle Waiting for College Application Decisions

Seize the Day-2The applications, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, transcripts and perfect essays are submitted. Your applications are complete and all you can do now is wait.

Easy, right?

Noooo! Waiting for your admissions decisions can be the worst part of the admissions process. You check your email 20 times a day. You are stalking your mailbox and  your stomach drops every time someone asks, “Have you heard anything?”

If the stress of anticipating your college decisions is getting to you, here are 5 ways to keep your sanity:

1. Focus on what you have control over. Right now, application decisions are more than likely done (insert scream here). Admissions offices are just finalizing the details. At this point, you have little control over what your decision will be, so focus on what you do have control over.

  • Concentrate on your schoolwork (remember they will look at your final grades).

  • Thank everyone who wrote your letters of recommendation, edited your essays, or just offered advice (baked goods or chocolate are always appreciated).

  • Continue being involved in your extracurricular activities and start mentoring peers who will take over your leadership roles next year (they will be lost without you).

2. Process the stress- your way. Some people like to talk about how they are feeling and others don’t. If you want to discuss every possible outcome of your college decisions, find a trusted (and patient) individual to talk to. If you would prefer not to discuss the college process any further, tell everyone around you (so they will stop asking questions). If you don’t process out loud, write it down. Journaling is a great way to organize everything that is floating around in your head.

3. Don’t second-guess your list. You could lose a lot of sleep wondering, “What if?” Don’t think about the schools you didn’t apply to. Stop questioning if your “reach” school is too far out of reach. Have confidence in the list of schools you applied to. At this point it can be easy to forget all of the hours you spent researching, asking questions and even visiting colleges.

4. Remain positive. Part of remaining positive is knowing that you have a solid plan- not matter what happens. You may not be admitted to your “first choice” school, but knowing that you will have other options should be your main focus. If it helps, make a list of all the pros and cons of all of the schools you applied to. You may find that you have more positive options than you think.

5. Reflect. Look back on what you have accomplished. A year ago, you did not even know where you were going to apply. You have come a long way from staring at a blank Common Application.

Anticipating the future can be stressful, but in just a few short weeks, you will know. April 1st will be here before you know it and after that, you are back in control of your college process. You will make the final decision of where you will attend college- and all the anticipation will be worth it!

Welcome to the College Mindset Blog


1. The ideas and attitudes with which a person approaches a situation, especially when these are seen as being difficult to alter.*

What is your College Mindset?

No matter how confusing or complicated the college process is, YOU have control over one thing: your mindset. How you handle the stress of the college application process, celebrate the victories or angst about possible rejection, it is all due to your mindset.

Whether you are…

  • a high school student navigating applying to colleges,
  • a parent concerned about guiding your student through the process,
  • an educator, mentor or friend advising students through the admissions maze,

College Mindset is here to help.

The college process takes time, patience and determination. You have to be intentional about every step along the way. You need to arm yourself with information, resources and support. And who knows, maybe students can learn some new skills along the way.

If you want to receive monthly newsletters straight to your inbox, please subscribe to our email list.   In addition, here are three other ways you can further develop your College Mindset:

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Welcome to the College Mindset community!  I am so glad you are here!


*“mind-set.” CollinsDictionary.com. 2016. http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/mind-set (Feb. 10, 2016)