Yesterday was Ivy Day, the date that all eight Ivy League institutions announced the remainder of their admissions decisions. There were record-low acceptance rates and this meant that a lot of extraordinary students did not get admitted to any Ivy or another highly selective college.
Today's blog is for the high school seniors who have gotten admitted to college, but not "the" college. My words of encouragement and my plan of action will help you and the younger students reading this.
1. The best thing you can do right now is throw on that sweatshirt or that symbol of acceptance from the college that admitted you.
While you were hoping for a different color or a different name on that sweatshirt or symbol, the more you wear it with pride, the more it will become your destiny.
2. It's okay to accept a spot on as many waitlists as you want, but be knowledgeable about your waitlist options and write letters of continued interest to the colleges that are more likely to use their waitlists this year.
Many highly selective colleges won't have room to accept students from the waitlist. However, if you look just beyond that group, you will find even better opportunities waiting for you. The best chances of admission from the waitlist this year will be the colleges that don't have single-digit acceptance rates.
3. Engage with the colleges that accepted you.
So often students will tell me they don't like any of their choices. But if they just give these colleges a chance, their entire perspective will shift. Attend the virtual events. Connect with current students. Travel safely to campus if you can. Breathe in that air knowing you have a place to call home.
4. Stay in your lane.
If you worry about why so-and-so got admitted and you didn't, you lose precious time to achieve, grow, and impact others.
5. Make this moment about you, not the college.
It is never where you go which defines your future; it is what you do while you are there.
RELATED READING: Making Sense of Admissions Decisions
Last night I lay awake worrying about the emotional toll this year has had on our youth and how the admissions process tested them. To be honest, I had a hard time finding the right words to write this blog today. But I challenged myself to shift my perspective and see opportunity in a blank space to hopefully make a difference. That is what I want every high school senior to do. When you feel disappointment, look for those blank spaces to fill with your presence, words, and actions. Those blank spaces are the colleges that accepted you. These colleges will provide an unending amount of inspiration for you to make a difference as well.