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Seniors: I turned in my college apps. Now what?

4 things to do while you wait for admission decisions

Admission decisions feel like eons away. You couldn’t possibly twiddle your thumbs while you’re keeping senioritis at bay. So what’s a senior to do with all that time until colleges give their final decision? To help you manage your anxiety -- and still have a super successful senior year -- here are things to keep you busy during the wait:

1. Check your portals

There’s nothing more nerve-wracking than missing a detail on your college application. If you have any doubts as to an item being received or delayed, check the portal of the university you applied to. You’ll need your unique login information sent to you by the college as confirmation of your application. Keeping this information handy will help you even after all of your materials have been received. Many colleges use the portal system to announce your admission decision even before they send you an email.

2. Maintain and/or improve your grades

It can be tempting to let your academic performance slide, especially since you’ve worked on college essays and done interviews, all the while trying to do well on your homework, tests and quizzes, and class projects. But don’t let a well-deserved weekend break lead you down the path of a mini-vacation in the middle of the semester. Colleges are expecting you to fulfill your commitment of passing your classes with grades of C or above.

3. Work towards new achievements

Many colleges welcome an update letter after an application has been submitted. In the update letter, students must provide new and compelling information to college admissions. What constitutes new and compelling information? Focus your efforts on achievements in your intended academic area. You may be taking a new class, started and/or completed a project, or received an award. If you thought that working hard was only for when you applied, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. Come up with a plan to continue pursuing the areas and interests that you talked about in your application. You want to have many new and compelling details to share to admissions officers.

4. Find ways to fund your education

If you haven’t done so, you may want to fill out the FAFSA. Many colleges and universities request that you fill out a FAFSA, even if you’re not interested in need-based financial aid. For example, financial information can be requested for merit scholarships. Speaking of scholarships, you can contribute to your college fund by applying to scholarships offered by entities outside of the schools that you applied to. You can create a free account at, where you can search and apply for scholarships. You’ll have the best odds of being awarded money if you apply to many.

There can be other circumstances that can contribute to the discomfort of waiting for an admission decision. It is good practice to find productive ways to take care of yourself and navigate the unknown. Being able to focus on these 4 tips will help you re-focus on you and your goals, and keep you on track.

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