Every high school senior in America knows that college decisions are coming out this week, and it’s probably the most nerve-wracking experience of my life. For years, most of my friends have felt like where we go to college matters so much for our futures, and the system has gotten so intense that getting into even what used to be mid-tier schools is nearly impossible.
So this school year, a group of us decided to make up rules for how to deal with college decisions and to hold each other accountable to them. It seemed like the best way to take care of our mental health as we went through senior year and I thought it might help other seniors (or rising juniors for next year) if we shared our process. It goes like this:
- We decided not to share where we were applying. We felt that would decrease the tension in our group and our tendency to feel like competitors with each other.
- When decisions come out, we won’t ask anyone where they got in. Some people might be dealing with painful rejections and not want to talk right away. It’s also spring break, so there’s some time to just be alone and not have to hear about other people’s acceptances.
- Once we decide where we’re going, we’ll share that with each other then. It’s easier to hear where someone’s going than the whole list of where they got in.
- We’ll celebrate everyone’s college choice together after the school year ends, when it’s not so fresh off of decisions and everyone has had a chance to adjust and get excited about where they’re going.
- We’ve all been working on managing our expectations and preparing not to get into any of our top choices. If we get waitlisted, we won’t freak out, because lots of applicants get in later. If we get rejected from our top choices, we’ll find the good in where we got accepted, because college will still be an amazing experience and there was something we liked about every school we applied to.
- We’ll repeat this mantra to ourselves and each other as often as needed: I was the best applicant I could be, and whether I got in or not was out of my control.
So that’s how we’re handling this stressful time, and maybe some of this will work for you too!