How to Deal with College Result Season Remotely
- What to Do If You’re Accepted by Your Dream School
- What to Do If You’re Waitlisted by Your Dream School
- What to Do If You’re Rejected by Your Dream School
The admissions process is looking a little (well, a lot) different during the pandemic. Admissions requirements are changing, standardized testing is largely optional, and colleges are reviewing transcripts with a different eye.
Another big change? How students must react to their admissions decisions. Still, whether you got into your dream school or received disappointing news, you’ll likely still feel all the feelings you would have in a “normal” year — and there are many ways to celebrate your victory or cope with disappointment.
If You’re Accepted by Your Dream School
Celebrate! This is a time to bust out the cake and party hats. Be sure to tell your family and friends (but remember to be respectful and don’t brag, especially if your friends are still waiting to hear back from or weren’t accepted to their top choices).
At the same time, you should be seriously considering the reality of your offer. Is it definitely the right fit? Are there other factors that will influence your decision?
For example, perhaps the financial aid package your dream school is offering isn’t enough. Don’t worry — there are ways to negotiate, such as by notifying them of financial aid offers from other schools and presenting new information about your family circumstances if your financial situation has changed. Check out our livestream for more advice on how to negotiate a financial aid offer and community forum about paying for college.
During COVID, it may feel like you’re not able to celebrate the way you’d like to. Don’t let the pandemic keep you from feeling excited, though. While you may not be able to have the huge party of your dreams, you can still celebrate over Zoom or at socially-distant meetups in the park or other outdoor locations. If you feel comfortable, why not go out to a nice outdoor dinner with your family?
If You’re Waitlisted by Your Dream School
Being waitlisted always puts you in limbo, pandemic or no pandemic. While you’re probably feeling anxious and disappointed, it’s important to do what you can to improve your odds of acceptance. First, accept your spot on the waitlist as soon as possible. Be sure to write a thoughtful letter of continued interest in the college, updating the school on any achievements and reiterating how much you’d like to attend it. (Here are some more tips for getting off the waitlist.)
While the chances of getting off the waitlist are usually fairly low, do what you can to find out the number of students who are typically accepted from the waitlist at that school. Bear in mind that schools are often reluctant to publish these statistics. Moreover, some schools have a “courtesy” waitlist for particularly strong applicants that they have no plans or space to accept. That said, other schools have a “real” waitlist for students they are more likely to admit. However, understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding admissions in general this year, and the waitlist process will probably look different, too.
Regardless of your chances of getting accepted off of a waitlist, reserve your spot at another school so you have a backup in case you don’t get into your top choice.
So, how do you cope with being waitlisted remotely? Start by talking to others in similar situations. You can get advice (and commiserate) via CollegeVine’s community forum.
Try to drum up some enthusiasm for your backup, too. While this is a little more difficult during the pandemic — for example, you probably won’t be able to do an overnight visit — you can still join accepted student forums, take a virtual tour, and speak with current and former students at that school online.
If You’re Rejected by Your Dream School
Being denied admission at your dream school is extremely disappointing. And it’s okay to be upset. Feel your feelings! At the same time, try to put it into perspective (once you’ve taken the time you need). Remember that the vast majority of candidates for selective schools — many of whom are very well qualified to attend them — were rejected, too. This won’t dictate your future success.
If you have other options you think would make you happy, we recommend against taking a gap year and reapplying next admissions cycle. We also advise against counting on transferring in. This is sometimes even more competitive than freshman admission. For example, Harvard’s first-year admission rate is around 5%, while its transfer admission rate is less than 1%.
As with waitlisted students, we recommend joining CollegeVine’s community forums to connect with others going through similar situations and receive advice. You should also research the schools to which you were accepted to find the best fit for you. Again, while it’s more difficult to do this during the pandemic, you can still investigate these schools online by joining forums to speak with accepted and current students, taking a virtual tour, and so on.
Ultimately, remember that you and your self-worth don’t depend on your admission to top colleges. Many highly successful people didn’t attend an Ivy or top-tier school and still went on to have amazing careers.
And don’t forget to take care of yourself during a particularly stressful time, whether you’re celebrating or dealing with disappointment. Remember to do nice things for yourself: read a book, take a bubble bath, cuddle your pet, talk to your friends on FaceTime, bake cookies, paint your nails — whatever helps reduce your stress and gives you a little joy.
If you’re looking for money to pay for college, check out the CollegeVine Scholarships (all high school students and US residents are eligible). We offer weekly $500 scholarships that are paid out directly to students to cover educational costs.
All you have to do is sign up for a free CollegeVine account and start earning karma, the free CollegeVine “currency.” You can earn karma by reviewing essays through our Peer Review tool and answering questions in our Community Forums. After earning that karma, you bid with it to enter the scholarship drawing (if you don’t win, that karma will be returned so you can “spend” it on essay reviews and expert advice).