March Madness – College Admissions not Basketball

March is the month when the last of the admissions decisions come rolling in. Most colleges are sending admissions decisions electronically these days, so seniors are anxiously checking their emails or logging into their accounts for each college constantly (some as often as every hour).

This is a stressful time for students. Kids are understandably anxious to know where they will be going in six months, and even if they know the probability of acceptance is low, they are still holding out hope for that “dream school.”  This is also a stressful time for parents, anticipating and trying to prepare for the joy or possibly the disappointment their son or daughter might feel.

Below are the various types of admissions decisions that will be coming, and some advice on what to do when you get them!


It goes without saying that acceptances are great news and a call for celebration. Mark the moment and celebrate!

What you are about to find out is that the tables have turned. Now the college wants you – and they want you to want them!  Take a deep breath. You have until May 1 to make your final decision.

If you are having a difficult time deciding between a couple of colleges this can be a good time to go visit those schools again. You’ll find that it is a very different experience to visit a campus once you’ve been admitted because the decision is now yours not theirs.


 If you are waitlisted by a college it means you may be considered if any spaces open up. Notice the words “may” and “if.” The probability of coming off the waitlist is very, very slim.

The waitlist is a clever tool for colleges. They have a pool of applicants to turn to if they don’t fill their class — an insurance policy of sorts. However, being waitlisted puts students in a tough spot. It gives them hope that there is still a chance, no matter how small those chances can be.

My advice is to move on and focus on the colleges that accepted you! All colleges have amazing things to offer students, and the colleges that accepted you are no exception.


If you don’t get into the college of your choice, it’s natural to feel disappointed, dejected, angry, you name it. That’s OK. It hurts! Express your feelings, it’s reasonable to be upset.

Once you’ve gotten all that emotion out, take a deep breath. You have to understand that the denial is not a reflection of who you are as a person, or how successful you will be in college. Admissions committees are looking at you on paper. They do not know you as a person. They also have to make decisions in a matter of minutes, and they have to consider many factors while trying to build their class. You are amazing, and it’s time to focus on the schools that recognized that.

Have faith!

Waiting for admissions decisions can be stressful. Hang in there and trust the process. It has a way of working out. I see it time and time again!