What time? Holiday time! Whether you are faith-based or not this is the time of the year when we all begin to think about the end of the year. It is, like Thanksgiving, the time to be thankful for all the good things in our life, even if life events are not going your way. Gratitude comes from appreciating the little things and simple pleasures in life – health, food on the table, family, friends, and so much more. Often times it feels that ones wants replace needs bringing a gloomy outlook on life. When we forget those simple things, life goes askew. It is also a time for renewal as the 1st of January rolls around in a few short weeks.
This time of the year the first round of decisions are starting to roll out from early application colleges and universities in the US. Definitely a period of high anxiety waiting for the dreaded email linking to a decision!
There are a couple of things to remember –
1. Sometimes one gets a happy face – Early applications are a challenge for many students. For the most part, this is the first time a student has been evaluated on a number of factors – academic ability, personality, writing, and test-taking skills to name a few. Often times everything matches and the decision is a Yippee! Congratulations!
2. Sometimes it is a meh face – a deferral. Many students view a deferral as rejection, and it is anything but a reject. You’re still in the game. So buckle up and keep going. There is also the belief that deferred students never get in later. Again, not true. What it does mean is that you are now in a larger pool of candidates. So, if the school is still your 1st choice, make sure you let them know that and keep updating them throughout the first couple of months of 2019.
3. Sometimes it is a big sad face – a denial. When it is a denial, it is very hard not to take the decision personally. This is not a personal condemnation at all. It is just a matter of competition. Most likely, the admission committee loved your application, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be, but in the end, someone else got the nod. It hurts, no question but hey if they didn’t want you, it is their loss.
Overall, during this period of decisions, it is vital to manage your expectations. Have a balanced view of the admission process. As an example, if a school has an overall admission rate of 10%, that means that 90% of all the applicants did not get in. And yes, early pools are smaller and have higher admission rates, but you need to remember that you are competing against a highflying pool of candidates. As a Chinese student, if you are one, your cohort is around 10% of the international population, which is probably somewhere between 10 and 15% of the overall pool with that initial 10% admission rate.
My point here is that if you put together a great application and didn’t get in, it’s ok. There is a great school out there, and hopefully, you put together a solid list of schools. Your future is not determined by where you go as much as what you do when you get to your next school.
Don’t crash and burn if you did not get in. Refocus! I have seen plenty of students who relied too much on getting into their dream school that they forgot about the reality if actually getting in.
The hope is, of course, that you do get into that one school. But even still you need to make sure that you stick with the program – just because you got in does not mean you don’t have to do well the rest of the school year. Quite the contrary – you need to do as well as your grades or predicted grades. The myth that US decisions are unconditional is exactly that – a myth. All decisions are conditional that you meet the conditions you set out when you applied.
Back to the holidays, if you have one. Enjoy being with family and friends. If you don’t celebrate and still have school or not, keep focused on the tasks at hand.
So, Merry Christmas! Good luck and don’t forget the best present is the present.