It’s so nerve-racking, right? You applied to your schools and have not yet received a notification of decision. You’re checking your email every hour, sometimes more, and you check your mailbox the moment you get home, hoping that you’ve heard back.

Today, let’s take a look inside the admissions office, shall we?

Unless you applied early action or early decision, colleges may take a bit more time in evaluating your application. Early action or early decision pushed applications to the forefront to make the deadline given by the specific college to which you applied. A colleague once literally worked for 24 hours straight to make sure that all his early decision applications were evaluated and moved forward to meet his deadline. So believe me, colleges are working. But what if you did not choose either option?

So I’ll be as honest as possible– admissions offices are really busy places. Your application and its documents are received along with the application of hundreds of other prospective students that come in all at the same time. Then there are high school visits to locations all around the country, and some overseas if the admissions officer is really lucky. Additionally, the office conducts campus tour sessions and typically several open house events throughout the year, especially in the spring semester.

Your turn—imagine being given all of your homework assignments for the entire school year and then working on them within a 4 month time frame in addition to participating in extracurricular activities, sports and work. That’s kind of what happens in the admissions office.

Many colleges now allow you to self-manage your application; this means that you can watch the process as it goes along by logging into your online application. You can view when your transcript, test scores, and other materials arrive to the office. At one of the schools that I worked with, if you opted in for text messages, we actually sent you a text the week your application would be evaluated so that you would know.

Lots of students then email or call to find out their status. And colleges really like that you are proactive in your application; it shows that you are interested in that school and are excited about receiving a decision. Sometimes your contact to the office may bump you to the head of the line, other times not so. Typically, many people are “reading” applications—this is the process by which your application is evaluated for different criteria so that no one person says no to your application. It’s a very fair process as different individuals will present various traits as your strengths.

But here’s what you can do in the meantime:

* Continue to monitor your status; if you had a document sent into the admissions office that is not showing appearing on your checklist after several weeks, follow up with the admissions office to ensure receipt.

* Keep being your fabulous self! When you are admitted to a college, your admission is based on your application at that time and the expectation that you will continue to do well. Many students “take it easy” senior year; don’t let that be you, especially if you could potentially receive a scholarship.

* Start making plans for college. Though you may not yet know which college you will attend, you know that you will be there. Make plans now. Being prepared early will help you. I’ve seen students start buying residence hall supplies as early as the beginning of the 12th grade! That may seem extreme but scheduling immunization shots, getting a physical if necessary and making arrangements are small tasks that can be completed early so you don’t have to worry about them later.

Be ready; those acceptances will roll in quickly and then you’ll have your next question– which college do I choose??

Get connected for help and more through the Journey, the newsletter for Let’s Go 2 College!


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