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Words of Wisdom for Waiting Seniors

Seniors, parents of seniors, and college counselors, I know you are on pins and needles. Many colleges with Early Decision and Early Action programs will be releasing decisions in the next few days and weeks.

It doesn't matter where you live, I can feel your stress. You are reaching out to me on social media and email expressing your concerns, doubts, and second-guesses. You are asking for back-up plans, for more colleges to apply to just in case, or if the college essay should be re-written.

In those moments of doubt, remember these little gems of wisdom:

1. You usually don't need to apply to more colleges, but you might want to apply to different colleges in the Regular Decision round.

If you did not get admitted to a Rolling Admissions, Early Decision, and/or Early Action program, review your list of colleges that you plan to apply to in Regular Decision. If there are more "reach" colleges on your list (and these are typically colleges with low acceptance rates and/or colleges where your GPA/test scores are lower than the averages), consider swapping a few of them and replacing them with a few more target and likely colleges.

2. Review your entire application just to make sure there aren't any typos for the remainder of the colleges where you plan to apply.

If you find a typo or a mistake, it's okay. It's bound to happen at some point no matter how many times you edit your materials. Make the change and move on. It's likely you are the only one who sees it.

3. Update your application with any new achievements, experiences, or classes.

It is amazing how things can change so quickly in a student's year. Ensuring that your application reflects the most accurate picture of who you are is essential. 

READ MORE: When to Update Colleges After Your Applications Are In

4. If you followed my rules on picking the right topic for your college essay, you most likely don't need to rewrite it. 

Instead, focus on your supplemental essays and making them as strong as your main essay. Many students put a lot of effort into their main essay (which makes me happy!), but they need to put as much effort into making the supplemental essays for each college just as special.

5. It is how we respond to a decision, good news or disappointing news, which ultimately defines us. 

Students who get deferred or denied in the early round often don't see the silver lining in this process right away. But I promise you that a better fit, a better opportunity, and a better chance to shine is waiting for you. Just put one foot in front of the other, and embrace the pivot.

Related Reading:
The One Word You Need to Know If You’ve Just Been Deferred or Denied by a College

In 2020, waiting defines our everyday lives. Waiting for things to get better. Waiting for the vaccine. Waiting for normalcy again. While high school seniors await their most important decisions yet, this period of time allows for reflection and even gratitude. Seniors, you have a lot to be proud of already. There is so much waiting for you just around the corner.