Preparing for your “package” decision


Alas, a round of application deadlines has come and gone. Our lives have been bundled up into packages and shipped off to colleges’ mailboxes. We wait patiently as our packages are unwrapped, each piece of ourselves being closely analyzed and judged. The college then either shreds our package to pieces in a pile of rejection or gracefully mails us back a congratulatory package of their own. 

With our packages sent off and now beyond our grip, the stress should be gone, right? For me, at least, the stress is greater than ever. Thinking about your life being picked apart by a group of admissions officers is terrifying. Yet, we put in our best efforts, so it is no longer in our control.

It’s difficult to deal with uncertainties at this current state of the college admissions process and preparing for answers to come. We are all in the sitting period as we wait for our decisions to be uploaded to the portal that decides our fate. The college will then notify us on whether or not we seemed to be a match for the particular student body they are creating. 

Many of us have a dream school or two, and it would feel like the end of the world if we were to be rejected. We then would come up with a series of questions, trying to pick apart the reason they decided to dump our package: What didn’t they like about me? Should I have taken six AP classes instead of five this year? Should I have been involved in more leadership boards for clubs and activities? I can admit, I have already been fretting these exact questions without hearing a decision, yet I need to keep my self-worth in mind. 

So, let’s shift our mindsets. 

Remember, you have given your all into your top schools’ applications. Nothing you can do now will change anything, as you have already shipped your self-package out for consideration. 

A school must be a perfect match for the applicant, and this is what admissions officers try to do. You swipe right on them, and they choose whether to swipe left or right on you, almost like college admissions Tinder in a way, right? It all seems like a bit of a game, I must say, but one that we place our “whole lives” into. 

So, in terms of dealing with college decisions in the upcoming months, I bring you advice on every outcome. Keep in mind, I’m going to try and use this advice myself as well. 

The first option: the dream comes true… an acceptance. Use this time to celebrate with immediate family, your close circle of friends, and teachers who helped you along the way with the process. Absolutely bask in your successes, as you have entirely earned it and deserve it. The school chose you, and it’s now time to get out there and make a change in the world with the new people and resources you will obtain. Yet, one thing to keep in mind is being aware of other applicants who might’ve landed a deferral or rejection. Enjoy your acceptance, but don’t rub it in for other students who also had the same dream school but a different outcome than you. 

The second option: back into the applicant pool… the waitlist or deferral. In this case, it’s tricky how to exactly feel. Yet, think of it like this: It’s not a rejection, and it’s not an acceptance—rather they want a second look at you later on as they continue to form their student body to see if there’s a spot personalized for you. Hold on to the hope you get as you re-enter their pool, but don’t ride it out entirely. Start to compile a list of other schools you could really see yourself at, whether you already got accepted to them or are still waiting for a decision. 

The third option: the end of the world (wrong!)… rejection. At this stage, the rush of questions arises as we begin to doubt our self-worth. Please understand it’s totally normal to feel pain and sadness, but know everything will end up working out. If the school feels you’re not the right fit for them, so be it. You need a school where you can thrive, feel connected to the student body, and make a great impact. Keep your head up and wait to see which schools choose you. 

You created an application that shapes the person you truly are: your passions, grit, dreams, accomplishments, and your overall character development. You might’ve given insights further into your personal experiences, whether they surround your upbringing, hardships, views, religion, culture, race, or sexuality. The person you have grown to be shines through in your package, and truly, if a school doesn’t want to take you, they don’t deserve what you were offering. The package will land if it lands, and it’s part of the process of finding your perfect fit.