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The High School Senior’s Guide to Achieving Happiness in the Weeks Between November First and Mid-Winter

“C’mon, just press submit!” my mom exclaimed. We were sitting together with my laptop between us, staring at the Common Application page for my first-choice college. In an attempt to match the music to my emotional state, I searched “intense music” on YouTube, and on came the score of some generic Disney movie.

As the music built suspense, I read aloud both my personal and supplemental essays and each sentence in the Activities section—the chance that any typos remained was minimal. But still…

“I can’t do it.”

“Zoe, just press submit; you’ll feel a huge weight lift off your shoulders!”

I pressed submit.

But I didn’t feel any such weight lift off of my shoulders; in fact, I felt a new type of nervousness arise as I realized that my fate was no longer in my control.

For high school seniors who apply Early Action or Early Decision, the stretch of time between application deadlines and admissions results proves to be a period of intense anxiety. While there’s nothing you can do during this time to increase your chances of admission, there are several ways to calm your nerves. Here is The High School Senior’s Guide to Achieving Happiness in the Weeks Between November First and Mid-Winter.

  1. Don’t panic if you come across a mistake. Found a typo in your personal essay—a week after you submitted your application? There’s no need to send an email to the admissions office correcting your mistake. If you didn’t notice this typo the first time around, it’s possible that the person reading your essay won’t either, so why draw attention to it? Regardless, one typo will not be the deciding factor for your application.
  2. Refrain from browsing through the “Chance Me?” posts on College Confidential’s page for your EA/ED school. Comparing yourself to your competition is neither productive nor healthy.
  3. Resist the urge to ask that student sitting next to you in math class where she hopes to study. If someone wants you to know where she applied, she will volunteer the information.
  4. Respect your peers’ choices. If classmates do tell you where they applied, there is only one acceptable reaction: express excitement about their top-choice schools! Understand that there’s not one college that promises a greater wealth of knowledge than any other and that everyone values different criteria in their selection. Know that college ranking lists are hopelessly subjective.
  5. Consider introducing a “Wall of Rejection” to your high school. Students would print out their rejection letters, cut out their names, and post them to a community board. This project aims to end the stigma and shame surrounding rejection and reminds seniors that if they get rejected from their dream school, they’re not alone. The “Wall of Rejection” is meant to accompany another page, whether online or in-school, that celebrates students’ acceptances and decisions.
  6. Be proactive. Continue to narrow down your list of your next-top colleges and make sure that you meet your school’s deadline for submitting transcripts, especially those due January 1. And it wouldn’t hurt to get started on some of those additional supplemental essays…
  7. Believe that everything happens for a reason. You’ll find inspiring people, incredible research opportunities, and countless extracurricular options wherever you go.

Article by MoCo Student staff writer Zoe Nuechterlein of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

About The MoCo Student

In 2012, Student Member of the Board of Education John Mannes created a countywide press network to help build a conduit to share fresh and relevant information written by youth to the wider Montgomery County student body.

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