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College Admissions: 4 Things To Do While Waiting For Early Admissions

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


As Early Decision replies loom, there are four things you can do that will make the time less stressful and more productive.

Many parents and students are anxiously awaiting the first round of college admission responses. Early action and early decision acceptances are usually returned around December 15, but some

colleges will send them out sooner and some will go later. What many parents don’t realize is that this time period sets the tone for the remainder of senior year. A few students will get into their first choice college early, but many will not. They will be deferred, or worse, rejected. Unfortunately, many families will focus on the negative and not celebrate the positive nearly enough.  Here are some things that you can do now to keep spirits up and stress down.

1. Post EVERY single acceptance letter somewhere visible in your house.

Put them on the fridge, a bedroom door, the family room wall—in a place where you will see them frequently. Too often, students read the acceptance on their computer and then never look at it again, or the letter goes in a drawer. Focusing on the positive and keeping the wins visible each and every day is one of the most important things you can do. I don’t care if the acceptances are to your ultimate backup schools-post them! And plaster any letters with scholarship awards or honors college offers right beside them. The worst thing a family can do is to focus just on the stretch school responses.

2. Revisit colleges where you are accepted.

Make a point to make another trip to campuses nearby after you are accepted—perhaps even do an overnight. If they are far away, spend an hour or two online taking a virtual tour and reading about departments and programs that interest you. Challenge yourself to find 3 things about the college that you did not know, and that make it a good choice for you! Write those things in magic marker on the acceptance letter that you posted. Maybe it is a study abroad experience in Spain, the honors program, or a research project that you want to be a part of.

3. Talk to students and alumni.

The best way to get a feel for a college is to speak with present and past students. Ask family and friends, or your guidance counselor for suggestions of people you can speak with.  Now is the time to make sure that you have done your due diligence for every school that is an option. Find out what students and alumni liked most about the college, unique opportunities that they had, and why they would recommend it to others.

4. Get over any obsession with brand names.

We have raised a society of kids obsessed with J. Crew, Abercrombie and other status symbols. But the reality is that a brand name college will not determine your success in life. Some of the most successful people I know attended colleges you have probably never heard of. And many of my friends who went to Ivy League colleges look back with less than starry eyes on their undergraduate experience. Less than 10% of Fortune 500 CEO’s went to an ivy league. Oprah went to Tennessee State, Warren Buffet went to the University of Nebraska, and Colin Powell went to City College of New York. Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs never even graduated from college. The best college for any student is one where he/she will be happy, feel empowered, and be able to excel as a person and as an academic, period.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.


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