• Dr. Thom

How to Handle Admissions Decision Season


Credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

December is a festive season filled with holidays, bright lights, and sweet smells. After-dinner evenings are spent with family, mostly watching holiday movies: Christmas Vacation, White Christmas, Charlie Brown Christmas, and countless Hallmark movies (a Bridget Golden favorite).


But December can also be a very challenging time for many people. Remembering lost loved ones, financial worries, and a sometimes relentlessly busy schedule to get ready for the “big day.” For college applicants, December is a time when the first round of early decision results are announced. And while I love receiving cell phone videos from our students admitted to their first-choice college, I often think more about the students who did not.


When we interact with the world we ultimately generate a response back. You ask someone out on a date, they say yes or no. You are trying to learn how to make bread and after two hours you will find out if the loaf proved enough to be edible. You prepare for an end-of-the-year exam and find out if you received the A you were shooting for or not. And yes, you put in the work to put together a great college application, and you wait to find out if you are admitted or not. We put ourselves out there in the world, and the world provides us feedback.


The temptation in our culture is to look at some forms of feedback as more “life changing” than others. But I am not so sure. The reality is that every interaction we have with the world, and every response we receive back from it, is simply another piece of feedback. We still get to choose what to do with that feedback, and that is the ultimate power we always hold.


So you applied to a college and they said “no thanks?” You’ve heard the saying, “When one door closes, another one opens?” While that is true, I don’t think it goes far enough. You knocked on one door and it didn’t open. There are billions of other doors to explore. Don’t waste your time worrying about the one that didn’t open.


And for the rest of us supporting our young people moving through the college application journey this holiday season, please spare a kind word or thought. And maybe you can share with them one of the times when you had a door closed on you. Good luck to everyone as we enter early decision time!


Not working with us yet? Feeling stressed by the college search process? Let's chat.

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