“The Waiting Is The Hardest Part”: Timely Advice for High School Seniors

Okay, first, if you teens don’t know who Tom Petty is, ask your parents. They have so  much to teach you about great music. 

Most seniors in high school have now submitted all of their applications, and all of that frantic adrenaline pushing you through late night edits of last-minute supplements is just simmering beneath the surface with no outlet over the next two long, boring months as you wait for the results of your applications. Uncle Tom was right, the waiting is the hardest part. Here are some tips for how to survive the rest of senior year:

  • DON’T stop checking email. 
    • DO continue to check email at least once a day. I have seen students miss interview invitations and even crucial information about changes in their intended major that affected the status and results of their applications. Your colleges may try to contact you for an important reason, and they are likely to use email. Check it often.
  • DON’T drop all of your hard classes to switch into easy ones. That kind of change would have to be reported to all of the colleges you just applied to, and yes, they would care. 
    • DO continue to put forth your best effort in your classes. Your applications are submitted, but you are still also learning and preparing your brain for college. The earlier you check out, the harder it will be to re-engage next fall.
  • DON’T ignore your portals.
    • DO check your portals to make sure that the colleges have received all required materials. If something is missing, do not yell at your school counselor. Just call the college to discuss what they seem to be missing. Usually they have everything but the portal just hasn’t been updated.
  • DON’T turn your back on a deferral.
    • DO write a Letter of Continued Interest if you are still strongly interested in a college that deferred your application from the early round to the regular round. You can use the letter to update them on any news in your life. I don’t mean your new girlfriend or your new nose ring, I mean academic or extracurricular news. Your McMillan counselor can help you.
  • DON’T succumb to senioritis.
    • DO maintain the same grades you achieved in the first semester. The college you choose to send a deposit to by May 1st will require your final transcript before allowing you to register for classes and enroll, and they can certainly put you on academic probation at the beginning of your freshman year, or – even worse! – rescind their offer of admission if your grades take a nosedive in the second semester. Remember, many colleges have waitlists of kids just chomping at the bit to be accepted.
  • DON’T break major school rules that could result in suspension or expulsion. 
    • DO soak up the fun times with your friends for the remainder of senior year, but be smart. After working so hard for so many years, toiling over tests, essays, projects, applications, taking those darn standardized tests on gloomy Saturday mornings, you don’t want to throw it all away because of a bad decision on a Friday night. Play by the rules.

The remainder of the winter may seem like the longest period of your life, but the clock will keep ticking and the Earth will keep spinning, just as it always does, and decision time will eventually arrive. Take some deep breaths, give your parents some extra hugs and gratitude (because they are dreading saying goodbye to you), and be extra nice to your siblings. Cherish this time when you are hanging in the balance of childhood and adulthood, for it won’t come ever again.

About The Author

Amy Christie, M.A.