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So You Got In: Now What?

Andriana writes about what to do after receiving college acceptances!

Andriana writes about what to do after receiving college acceptances!

Hi everyone!

It is now early April, which means college seniors are getting the last of their college decision letters. To start, congratulations! Completing an application is an achievement on its own, regardless of the outcome. I remember feeling relieved to finally reach a sort of end to the process.

That said, it’s not really the end! Gotcha! Now, you have to make a decision. It completes the circle of (college admissions) life: colleges choose you, and now you must choose one of them. Quite poetic.

So! How do you make a decision? What should you be thinking about? Who should you talk to?

Before I get into my giving of advice, I’ll point you in the direction of some other wonderful posts: Recently, Greta and Avery shared their experience with picking a college. It’s a good idea to read other posts on the subject, not just because they’re wonderful and helpful, but because they offer other perspectives. Students will have different considerations while choosing a college, so exploring each post might help you find the advice you need to hear.

I have shared my personal experience with college decisions in previous posts, so this week, I’ll focus on advice about what to do after acceptance.

1. Talk to someone!

This is a big decision, and it shouldn’t be made alone. It can be difficult to know exactly what to think about, what to take into account when making a choice. I cannot advise you on what you should consider—I don’t know you! But someone who does might be able to guide you in a productive and valuable way.

It would be ideal to talk to family members, especially if they will be helping you pay for college. In many ways, they might have a good idea of which options would work best for your family. Ultimately, college is not an individual decision in the sense that it tends to affect the whole family. Try to carve out time with your family between now and, say, April 30th, to really weigh your options.

If family members are not an option, however, try to identify someone who is able to offer some informed advice personalized to you. Maybe a teacher, a neighbor, a friend’s parent—really any adult who can steer you in the right direction. If nothing else, at least this will provide an opportunity to have a conversation with someone who can listen and take some of the pressure off.

Most importantly—know that you don’t have to do this alone! In fact, you shouldn’t do it alone.

2. Ask yourself some tough questions.

An important question that is often overlooked is whether or not your acceptances changed your mind. For example, which schools were you excited about before receiving your decisions? Did they change afterward? Why?

Of course, the ability to change your mind is crucial. But asking yourself these questions might help you recognize your priorities when making a decision. It can be easy to be wowed by acceptance to a prestigious school, or an invitation to participate in a special program. But these options, though exciting, can also be a distraction from the things that are most important to you.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t take any of these aspects into consideration. Maybe a name-brand school is really important to you. Or maybe you were accepted into a program that offers you a scholarship, or priority registration, or better dorms. Crucially, however, your decision should be the product of your preferences rather than an offer that seems too good to turn down.

So what does this mean? If the name-brand school never excited you before, don’t let it sway your decision. If the special program doesn’t offer appealing benefits or the school was low on your list to begin with, try not to feel obligated to accept. Remember your needs and honor them.

3. Take a step back.

Options are a blessing and a curse. It is overwhelming when you have too many, but frustrating at best when you don’t have enough. So take a step back, and take a breath. It is only the beginning of April—you have nearly a month to make a decision. Don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily.

Also, remember to put this experience into perspective. You are choosing a college! It should be an exciting time for you, one that will help you begin to understand your future in clearer terms. I know it can be tough, but try to see this time as one to be celebrated. You deserve it!

see you soon!

Andriana is a sophomore at Carleton, where she is earning a major in English and a minor in Cross-Cultural Studies. Although she is spending the year at home in Richmond, VA, Andriana is already excited to return to Carleton in the fall. When she isn’t busy studying, Andriana can be found binge-reading, playing music, or watching a favorite movie or show for the umpteenth time. Meet the other bloggers!