If you applied Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA), you’re likely living in anticipation – going about your day you suddenly think, “someone may be reading my application right now.” Soon, notifications will be sent and the suspense will finally end.

You’ve put a great deal of time and energy into your college search and application process, so the weight is real but it’s also important to keep perspective. How? Remember:

Now, you have better information.Whatever decision(s) you receive, now you have more to go on.

Congratulations! If you applied Early Decision, you’ve reached your goal – now you know where you will go to college. You’ll start to receive more information as you become part of the university community and think in real terms about life after high school. Make sure that you withdraw all applications you have submitted to other universities. If you applied Early Action, you still might be planning to apply Regular Decision (RD) before you make your choice. Now you know you have a great option, regardless of what happens in RD, and you can rest assured that you have put together a strong application.
Read: 5 benefits of visiting campus as an admitted student

Argh. What does that mean? While deferral is disappointing, it means that things are still positive. Admissions officers want to view your application in the context of the whole pool, and you will be considered again during the RD round. Review your notification to make sure there is no action you need to take to stay in the RD pool (usually this is not needed), and think about relevant updates you might send to the admissions office in January to strengthen your application. Look at the schools on your RD list with new eyes and get excited about the possibilities.
Read: What to do if you’ve been deferred

There’s no way around it, being denied is disappointing and it can be difficult to move forward. Once you’ve taken it all in, take a breath and remember that there are more than 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. and you’re going to find your fit. Take another look at your RD list to consider if it is balanced enough, and review your application to see how you might strengthen it. Keep going – this feeling will pass as you get excited about schools on your RD list.
Read: Dos and don’ts with crafting your college list

The best is yet to come. Whether you are admitted early or not, you have a lot to look forward to. You may get the opportunity to attend your dream school. You may need to turn disappointment into excitement about another school. Either way, if you’re a high school senior, you have one more semester to make your mark at home and then you’ll move on to life’s next adventure – go deeper academically, establish independence, meet new people and define your future path.

About the author
Marc Zawel

As author of Untangling the Ivy League, Marc literally wrote the book on gaining admission to highly selective colleges. He earned a BA from Cornell University – where he met AcceptU’s co-founder – and an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At UNC, Marc chaired the admissions advisory board; he has also conducted alumni interviews for Cornell for more than fifteen years.

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