In the days of paper applications, I had buckets lining the walls of my dining room. I’d add the unread applications and review them based on geographic area, or the division to which the students had applied, or sometimes, simply the top twenty in the stack. A twelve-hour reading day wasn’t uncommon. With the advent of electronic applications, I moved to a computer screen, staring and clicking, searching for the stand out traits in each student’s application.
While you wait, your application is working hard on your behalf. The best applications give an admissions committee something to talk about. But is there anything that you can do now besides wait?
Certainly, your school sent along your seventh semester or second trimester grades when they became available. And honestly, keeping those grades up is the most important thing you can do to maintain your candidacy. With so many compelling applicants, a small slide in your senior grades makes it easier for the admissions committee to mark your application “waitlist” or “deny.” It seems too easy to let the remainder of your senior year float by, but if you disengage academically now, in 7 months you’ll be in college, and it will be more challenging to hit the ground running if you’ve spent this year relaxing.
In the meantime, if you win an award, or accomplish something else noteworthy, a simple letter to the admissions committee updating them is not a bad idea. Fifteen pages of photocopied certificates is a bad idea.
If your status changes for the worse, meaning you’ve been suspended, or worse yet, expelled from your current school, it goes without saying that you need to carefully let your college choices know about this development as well. A well-crafted letter can help to smooth over a difficult situation. (Accepted.com’s editors can help you with this letter.) Ignoring the difficult situation might only come back to haunt you down the road.
Mostly, though, it’s just waiting— and maintaining the high level of achievement that brought you to this point. Hang in there.