Decision Release: The Nervous Applicant’s Guide to Surviving

Eudora Okine

How to Make It Past D-Day in One Piece

We're just a few weeks out from our final decision release.

While your ED and EA classmates are kicking back and enjoying what’s left of their final weeks of high school, you can’t help but be on edge. You facing decision release seems like a bigger deal than Will Smith facing that invasion in Independence Day. A million questions buzz through your head at lightening speed over and over again:

Will I get into my dream school?
And will I be able to afford my dream school?
Will I get into any school at all?

Well, I can tell you that no matter how confident everyone else seems around you, you’re not the only person who is entertaining this particular parade of thoughts. It’s normal to be nervous – and even a bit anxious – about what the future holds. College is a big milestone, and a big stepping stone a lot of the times too. While I can’t shut down the parade, I can offer some advice that might help you feel a bit more at ease as you wait to hear back about your applications.

Don't Panic.

If there is ever a time to panic about anything, it’s definitely not before you even know if there’s definitively anything to panic about. It’s easy to spend so much time worrying about the worst case scenario, but the worst case scenario rarely ever happens. We may not end up in the exact situations we were hoping for, but we rarely ever end up in the worst. Save yourself the anxiety – don’t freak out prematurely.

Focus on All the Good Possibilities

Instead of meditating on the worst case scenario and driving yourself insane, start a list of all the good outcomes that are possible at decision release. What are all the great things that would happen if you got into your dream school? Then think about all the great things you could do at your second choice school. List out all the possible positive outcomes at all of your options. That way, no matter what news you get back, you’ll have something to look forward to. That, and you’ll have a running list for if you have to make a tough decision between a few great options.

Whistle While You Wait

Snow White and the Dwarves have it right – keeping yourself upbeat under undesirable circumstances (like working or waiting) is important. Take up doing more things you love over the next few weeks to keep your mind occupied. Spend more time with family and friends and in spaces that make you happy. This is a time to protect your peace and to do things that keep you optimistic about the future.

Don't Feel Pressured to Share the News

When I was applying to college, many decisions were still sent via snail mail. You got home and found an envelope addressed to you on the counter. You squealed, grabbed it, then ran upstairs to read it in the privacy of your room. Not so much today. Technology has changed how decisions are released. Decisions release will probably happen while you’re still in school or in a social setting. Don’t feel pressured to open the decision right at that moment or in the midst of friends. I know patience isn’t anyone’s greatest virtue in 2020, but some news is better received alone, or at least in the midst of loved ones who can share in good news or comfort us in disappointment. Save yourself the breakdown in AP Chemistry.

Take Time to Weigh Your Options

You have a WHOLE ENTIRE MONTH to make a decision. Don’t just hit ACCEPT on the first university that offers you a spot… unless it’s NYU.

Juuuust kidding.

But really, do take the time to carefully weigh all your options. Visit the campuses for their open houses and yield events if you can. Reach out and ask to speak to a current student. Do a deep dive into the coursework offered for your desired major and what research opportunities you can take advantage. Think of all the craziest/wildest/most interesting things you’d like to do for the next four years of college – academically and socially – and find out which of your options best fits the bill. Your spot will be held till May 1, so don’t feel like you have to rush a decision.

Decline Any Offers You Have No Plans of Accepting

Free up spots for other students who are on the waitlist. You might just be holding onto a spot at someone else’s dream school.

Remember That You Can Be Successful No Matter Where You Go

Here’s the truth that no admissions officer will probably tell you, but I will: you’re the prize. All the work we do all year long is to attract amazing students just like yourself to our institutions. The only caveat is that we only have so many seats to fill, and not every one we think is amazing and will succeed on our campus will get a spot.

The good news is that your success isn’t dependent on where you go. Your success is most largely determined by what you do/take advantage of wherever you DO go. So don’t stay bummed by the denies. Continue to work hard and you’ll find success

Want to know how to access your NYU decision on the day of decision release? Check out jasmine’s handy-dandy guide here!

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