Once you’ve submitted all your college applications, you would think that you’ve gotten the hardest part out of the way. However, that’s not necessarily the case. In fact, what happens next might be even more difficult: the waiting game.
For three to four months, colleges leave you out there to dry. The only forms of communication they’ll have with you is to tell you you’re missing documents, to tease you with mass emails that make you feel special, and to taunt you with their “create your login to view your decision” notifications. Looking back on it now, it’s amazing that more people aren’t driven crazy during this time.
Here are some ways to deal with the waiting game.
1. Keep pursuing the extracurriculars you’re involved in
A lot of people seem to drop out of their extracurriculars the second they’re done with applications. This is not a good idea at all. Some schools, most notably the University of California system, audit your applications, so you may be required to submit proof of an extracurricular. It’ll be hard to get an extracurricular advisor to help you out if you stop showing up to the activity once your apps are in. Also, if you get waitlisted, it’s always nice to be able to say you’ve been able to keep up your involvement and continue to make an impact in your activities.
2. Start looking for something interesting you can do during the summer
The summer after high school is often the most liberating summer. You don’t have to worry about preparing for the next school year, because you won’t really know what to expect for college until you get there. Better yet, there’s no need to feel like you have to impress anyone (ahem, college admissions officers) with what you did over the summer. If you like the outdoors, look into seeing if there’s a nearby camping spot you and your friends can go to. If you like to travel, see if you can start a fundraising campaign for people to donate to in lieu of getting you graduation presents. This can help allay costs and allow you to go somewhere you usually wouldn’t consider.
3. Do not stress out about decisions coming out
I know this is harder said than done, but you really have no control after you’ve submitted your apps. I remember checking the College Confidential pages for all the schools I had applied to, trying to see if anyone had gotten any form of communication from the school. Now that I think about it, it was a complete waste of time. Even if someone else had gotten something, it doesn’t affect me. As difficult as it may be to curb your curiosity, just do it. Please, just do it for your sanity.
4. Relax and have fun
It’s your last semester of high school. Take advantage of it. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do in high school, but haven’t had the chance or time to do yet? Take a leap of faith and do it. Although it’s important to maintain your grades throughout second semester (don’t forget the dreaded waitlist possibility), don’t worry too much about them. You’re about to end a significant chapter of your life. You want to go out with a bang, so have fun and enjoy yourself. After all the years of cramming for AP tests, dealing with uncooperative group members and wasting beautiful Saturday mornings on the SAT, you definitely deserve it.
In the end, the only thing you can do is be patient. By the time April comes around, it will all be worth it.