Instagram Live Q&A  9/30 @ 4pm ET • Ask me your college admissions questions!  FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM

7 Steps to Take Before Early Admissions Decisions are Released

I am out of my element when it comes to photo shoots. At 4' 11", I wasn't exactly groomed to be a model. I am far from an expert on which angle is best, where to put my arms and chin when the photographer asks me to change things up, and how to relax on-set. Yesterday caused me more anxiety than appearing on live TV.

The date for the photo shoot was a moving target. My team asked for a dozen or so outfit combinations in advance—not only the clothes, but the shoes and jewelry I was planning to wear too. Can't forget the props. And the makeup and hair professionals to make me look better than I typically do in my regular life, but not too unrealistic. The details were overwhelming. The worst part about the photo shoot was the anticipation.

High school seniors can relate. Maybe they had their own senior photo shoot and felt the same stress that I did. But I bet nothing compares to the anticipation of Early Decision and Early Action results about to be released.

It's a waiting game right now. Their applications were submitted weeks ago. Seniors understand that there's not much you can do right now to change an impending admissions decision. But what I've learned from my own crazy life is that you can prepare, and that cuts down on the anxiety.
Here are the six most important steps to take before you hear back from your Early Decision or Early Action program:
1. Check your email daily.
Colleges are sending updates to applicants via email. One of my Application Nation-Senior Year parents just sent me an email her child received from Northeastern University which has seen an astonishing increase in the number of Early Decision 1 applications this year. This is important information for applicants to know.

2. Look out for notifications about when the college is releasing their admissions decisions.
Most colleges will give students a heads up in advance about the date and even the exact time when they plan to release their decisions. The University of Pennsylvania was well ahead of the game this year, notifying their entire Early Decision applicant pool 10 days in advance of their decision release on December 13th. Most of these notifications will also come through email.

3. Review your admissions portal daily.
If anything is missing from your application, colleges don't always have the time to contact you or your counselor personally. Instead, they will post the missing information on your portal. It is often up to you to follow up with your counselor to ensure that materials are submitted immediately.

4. Check the spam folder of your email account daily too.
Interview requests and invitations from the college's scholarship and honors programs may end up in this folder. You don't want to miss this key communication right now. 

5. Make sure to know your login information to access your admissions decision.
You will need this information if the college is releasing admissions decisions via their admissions portal.

6. Come up with a plan with your parents on where you will be and who you want with you when you check your admissions decision.
The vast majority of colleges now release their decisions online. The best advice? Check your admissions decision in private with loved ones nearby to support you no matter what the outcome is.

"The best way to check your admissions decisions? In private with loved ones nearby to support you no matter what the decision is." TWEET THIS

7. Continue working on Regular Decision applications
It's an effective way to funnel that nervous energy and get your mind off those upcoming decisions.
Yesterday was only my third official photo shoot since I launched my first business, back in 2015. It went a lot better than the previous two shoots. I knew what I needed to do in advance and that helped ease anxiety and, dare I say, enjoy the moment.
While students are going through the admissions process for the first time, lean on others like me, older siblings who have gone through this, or your loving parents to help prepare you and be by your side when you find out about your future in the next few weeks. And just in case the decision isn't what you had hoped for, the disappointment and the state of uncertainty are not permanent. You can push that decision aside as quickly as I've tossed some of those old photos of myself. You will have your moment to shine. I promise.