How to Play the College Admissions Waiting Game

Yesterday was a long day. I dropped the kids off at school as early as I could. Zhuzh'ed up the living room with pillows and nice smelling candles. Tried on a million dresses before deciding on my original plan. And welcomed a film crew into my humble home. The crew was from a cable news program doing a story on the college admissions process. Before I knew it, the hour-long interview was done. And that's when the second-guessing started.

Should I have worn the navy dress? Will the editing process put me in a positive light? And of course, what could I have done differently?

It's this questioning that we all do when something we care deeply about is out of our control. We must be patient as we await news on our future, but it's nerve-wracking. There's a lot of waiting going on right now.

High school seniors who submitted their Early Decision or Early Action applications are having trouble focusing on schoolwork while Regular Decision applications loom in the background. They just want to know whether they were admitted to their early choice, and they can't wait another second. But they're also questioning everything from the essay they submitted to their "early" choice.
 
Juniors are wondering when their PSAT results will come back. Some want to know how high their scores are as they hope to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Most students, though, just simply want to know if these "practice" scores indicate if they are going to bomb or crush the real SAT or ACT. They know that test scores dictate admissions and scholarship decisions more than colleges care to admit.
 
Admissions officers across the country are nervously checking their phones for news alerts in anticipation of the upcoming decision on whether or not Harvard systematically discriminated against Asian American applicants. They know no matter what the decision is, the way they do their jobs is about to change. But this period of limbo makes them question themselves. In moments alone, they ask themselves, "Did I ever discriminate?" 
 
The self-doubt during this waiting game can hold us back. But in the end, we must keep going, adapt, and grow from these moments. We often make thoughtful and decisive choices about our lives. And sometimes no matter what we do, we can't control the outcome. 

"Playing the college admissions waiting game? Whatever the outcome, remember to keep going, adapt, and grow." TWEET THIS

Last night when the dust settled, I wanted to replay and critique what I said during the taped interview. Instead, I got back to work. I had client sessions and emails to return. There was no time for second-guessing, and that was the most effective way to get on with my life. I don't want my kids to see me questioning myself especially when I know I did my best yesterday.
 
As we await admissions decisions in the coming weeks, PSAT results, and a federal judge's decision about the future of college admissions, I encourage all of us to not stop and wait for the other shoe to drop. Keep going. 
Seniors, finish those Regular Decision applications.
 
Juniors, put the time into your schoolwork because you usually will get out of it what you put in.
 
Admissions officers, do everything you can right now to treat students fairly and not let cultural stereotypes and your own biases exclude well-deserving kids from getting admitted in this early round of admissions and for many years to come. 
No matter what happens in the coming weeks, we are creating opportunities right now for the future—our future and a better future for younger generations.