Weathering the Wait: Countdown to College Notification Day

While some students have heard from schools, others are waiting the good wait until March or April. It’s hard to gauge whether the time between application submission to college notification is more anxiety-inducing for students or their parents. From boots-on-the-ground experience, I’d say it varies from family to family though everyone involved in the Regular Decision process feels some form of relief in the spring. Here are some “pro-tips” to make these winter months beneficial to your application strategy:

Early Decision (ED) Deferrals

If your ED choice is still the love of your life, then convey that sentiment but do so judiciously. In other words, sending emails with a rehash of the same information the admissions committee has already seen on your application portal isn’t the best tactic. However, updating your regional representative about the challenging courses you’re taking this spring or how you did an internship over the holiday break are both interesting bits of “news” that will show commitment to both their school and your own enrichment. Include details of the courses and why you’re excited to learn the material as well as describe why the job experience was so meaningful. Remember to keep your on-site counselor informed that your ED is still where you’d like to go to college.

Grades/GPA/Performance Evaluations

Whether your school measures academic excellence via grades, GPAs, class rankings or anecdotal written evaluations, make sure you’re working as hard as you can and maintaining or excelling in all of your courses. Awaiting word from their top-choice schools, students who receive acceptances in the Rolling or Early Action (EA) admissions rounds often make the mistake of taking their foot off of the academic pedal. The result? A car-crash — at least in terms of their anticipated offers. My advice is always, stay in it to win it.

Supplemental Essays

The hardest short-answer essays to write are those for schools with deadlines January 15th and later. Some of your friends are finished with their applications and if you’re still toiling away, it can be distracting to hear the “noise” of those already in the waiting-game part of the process. Stay focused. These essays are your chance to craft I Love You letters. Remember to communicate with details WHY each of these schools satisfies your interests and needs as a student. And, of course, what your experience, curiosity and personality will add to those schools’ communities. You’re almost done. Keep up the good work!


The College Journey is a long haul. VERY soon you’ll not only be hearing from schools, but scheduling revisits, negotiating financial aid packages and falling deeper in love, or at least serious like, with those colleges whom you wooed.

For information about College Counseling/Essay Coaching, please drop me a line at or give me a holler at 917-863-2424. Also, for “news you can use,” please check out my blog posts and Facebook page.