As December approaches, so do early decision return dates. This is a nervous, exciting, happy, horrible time!… for those that actually applied early decision. For those that did not it is the crunch time of finishing regular applications and dealing with the intense emotions of early decision friends. Hopefully this guide will help you to be a supportive and sane non-ed kid.
The Happy One
Some people will get into their dream school and be totally over the moon. Ideally they would keep this excitement to themselves as many continue to go through a very stressful time, but some don’t. Some people will wear their new college’s t-shirt, or make a Facebook post, or scream it in the hallways, or all three and then some.
This can be incredibly frustrating, and so take some space. Try and find someplace quiet where their effervescent joy does not make you want to strangle them. Once you have had a break try talking to them and asking them to take it down a notch. Make sure that you underscore how happy you are for them, but that it is very difficult to not be made more anxious that you will not find out anything for many months.
The Sad One
This time of overwhelming joy for some will be matched by those who got deferred or rejected. Finding out news like that can set people in a very depressed funk that is hard to get past. It is really important to make sure that you support these friends as much as you can. Make sure that they know you are there for them to vent at, but also serve as a reality check. They are now in the same situation as you, with the same general applications deadlines. As frustrating as this may be for them, they need to apply to other schools. Suggest channeling their negative feelings for the school that did not accept them towards those that will.
Be aware of yourself at this time as seeing someone face the bad news that you might soon enough is pretty tough. It is a wake up call: you will face rejection in one way or another. You may get rejected from a few schools, and you will in turn reject schools. It is the most uncomfortable part of the college application process, but ultimately necessary. A university cannot accept every applicant the same way that you cannot attend every university. You will get in somewhere, and so will the Sad ED.
The Quiet One
Ah yes, I was one of these. Unless someone explicitly asked, I did not say a word. I told my college counselor, my dean, and my parents, and that was it for as long as I could help it. For some people the last thing that they want to be is the explicitly happy ED because they know how annoying it can be for everyone else. While this does not necessarily mean that they should not tell anyone, it is ultimately their news to share as they please. If you are close to this person and you know that their school decisions came back it is usually okay to ask. Make sure that you do it when you are alone with them so that they do not have to tell anyone that they don’t want to. Unless they ask you to do otherwise, keep the information to yourself and let them share the news on their own time.
It is also okay to not ask. You will probably find out eventually, and if you feel it is better for you to not launch an investigation no one is expecting you to. For most of the people you know this will probably be the case; unless you are in their close circle of friends, you will not be sure until everyone knows where they are going. The exceptionally happy and exceptionally sad are just that: exceptional. These tips are for the close friends or classmates that are very open and upfront, but unless they make it your business, do not worry and focus on your own applications!