College Waiting Game

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Most colleges notify high school seniors of their acceptance (or rejection) by April 1. We spoke with WFU Associate Dean of Admissions Dawn Calhoun this morning, who gave us these extra tips to share online.

Have you received your letter (or PIN) from admissions?
Many schools have switched to a dedicated Web approach, in which students are given their own personal PIN to log-in on a designated day to find out if they have gained admissions to that institution. By contrast, Wake Forest University still sends its admissions notifications by mail. Why the traditional approach? It adds a personal touch that students appreciate. And as Washington Post columnist Jay Mathews points out, it reduces the number of inadvertent technology errors. (Washington Post is currently conducting a poll about how people like to be notified; letters in the mail currently lead at 61% compared to 30% by Web).

Tips for while you are waiting
The frantic rush to collect recommendations and write admissions essays has culminated in the ceremonial push of the “submit” button. The adrenaline rush has subsided. Your admissions application has now passed from your hands to those of various admissions committee members. The wait has begun.

Even though there's no panacea for your nervous stomach, the anxious thoughts or the nightmare in which students realize they have submitted Wake Forest’s essay in their Duke application, here are a few pointers which may indeed make the wait until April more tolerable and productive.

  1. Stay focused. Don’t spoil a wonderful high school transcript with senioritis. Many colleges consider mid-year grade reports before making final decisions. Keep a full head of steam as you prepare to enter the rigors of college academics and strive to make your senior year your strongest yet.
  2. Get your financial aid documents in order. Financial aid deadlines for submitting the CSS Profile and FASFA are often February 15 with tax returns due shortly thereafter. Don’t wait until you are admitted to start thinking about finances, by then you could have missed the boat.
  3. Continue your College Research. Continue to explore the websites of the schools to which you have applied. Familiarize yourself with the faculty, their research, the lectures, concerts and campus events . Imagine yourself at each of your college choices. Talk with your college counselor, alumni and others who are knowledgeable about the institutions. Having a strong sense of each of your college choices will make decision making time much less stressful in April.
  4. Visit if you can. If you have not visited the colleges to which you have applied, try to do so. Many colleges have open house programs in April but visiting in the winter, attending classes and talking with students may help you to prioritize your college list.
  5. Behave. Foolish acts of irresponsibility in the senior year could rob you of admission to your dream school. Channel your energy in a positive ways-academics (See #1) extra-curricular activities, community service, and READING.
  6. Be positive and realistic. Finally, hope for your dream school but have solid plans B and C. Remember, there is more than one school out there for you and sometimes admissions officers really do know what’s best.