The (College) Waiting Game: My Experience

The spring of my junior year, when my weekends were buried somewhere under test prep books, highlighters, and never-ending mounds of flashcards, I thought the ACT would be the hardest part of the college application process. During September and October of my senior year, I thought for sure the most challenging part of applying to college would be writing an essay about my idea of “the good life.”

While the college search/testing/application ordeal has had its challenges, I’ve realized that the hardest part has (ironically) been the part where you just cannot do much of anything…but wait.

In November, I was relieved to have submitted all of my applications – there are few sights more beautiful than a crossed-off to do list! I had already been accepted to one school that I loved – it was just a matter of waiting to hear from the others. I got a little obsessive with checking my online application statuses (and by “a little obsessive,” I really mean I checked nearly everyday…even though I knew nothing would change – I guess I was just channeling my inner, “Well, ya never know!”).


In December, I was distracted – and probably for the better. I was too focused on the nearing end of the semester and grueling winter break swim practices to continuously check my statuses or think about decisions. In mid-December, when social media blew up with congratulatory early decision statuses, hashtags, and cute acceptance letter selfies, I was happy for my friends! I calmly reminded myself that the early action date would come soon enough. Then, the holidays/family gatherings rolled around…and so did The Four Questions: College Edition (check out this post for more details).

The beginning of January is when the uncertainty started to get a little frustrating. The website College Confidential also made its way into the picture. This popular “college discussion” website is like The Real Housewives of New Jersey…it’s so bad, yet so good. It’s toxic, but you can’t look away. Nearly every college or university has their own page with discussion boards that cover admissions, dorms, and everything in between. The site itself is like a virtual dumping ground for anxious high school seniors (and even parents) awaiting college decisions.

A common trend is for users to “chance” each other, or to tell each other if they think they will be accepted or not. Many users begin this trend by listing their ACT/SAT scores, grades, class schedules, awards, and/or their entire life stories on the page of the school they applied to. Then, other people will respond by saying if they think the student will be accepted or not. (This is not very reliable, considering the fact that these people are not admissions counselors and are judging based off of one or two comments on a discussion board.) Users can also browse through boards from past years, where many previously accepted students post their test scores and other application statistics.

College Confidential is most certainly interesting to browse through every now and then, but is it the most reliable source of information? Definitely not. And, in all honesty, it hasn’t helped much with the whole “waiting” thing – in the end, rifling through comments and comparisons of other applicants cannot change what has already been done.

So, here’s the takeaway:

  • Plain and simple – waiting three to four months for anything, not just college decisions, is HARD – even for the most patient people. Staying committed to a few outside activities certainly helps distract from the constant anticipation.
  • Comparing yourself to others (especially those you don’t even know) is dangerous, so use sites like College Confidential in moderation. When apprehensions fill your mind, just remember that you have done all that you can do, and that everything will happen for the best. You are more than a test score or GPA, and the only people that will truly be able to determine if you are accepted somewhere or not are admissions counselors.

Shoutout to anyone else who is in the same boat. We’re in the home stretch…


Best wishes,


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