The Waiting Period
how to fill the time?
The hard part is over, right? Your applications are in, and the easy part will be accepting your offers in April. Unfortunately, the hardest part is yet to come.
We're sure you'll agree that these past few weeks have been filled with anxious thoughts of uncertainty about your future. Was your essay crafted to the best of your ability? Have you presented credentials that will place you among the best candidates for each college or university's freshman class? Will you be admitted?
The encouraging news is that these questions will be answered in just a few short weeks. Your current challenge is to prepare yourself to make the best possible decision once those acceptance letters fill your mailbox. Now is not the time to wait, but to act.
Most colleges will mail their acceptance letters near the middle to end of March. These letters will be waiting in your mailbox in the beginning of April. You only have until May 1st, however, to make your decision.
Many students wait until they know their options before finalizing their college exploration process. We encourage you to continue exploring today and in the coming weeks so that when those letters arrive, it's simply a matter of attending Open House and filling out the forms.
Here are some suggestions on how you can make the best use of your time in the coming weeks:
- Visit each campus. If you have not already visited each of the colleges to which you have applied, now might be a good time. During the month of April, college campuses will be filled with both admitted seniors and prospective juniors. Tour groups will be large, and the process may seem overwhelming. By visiting campuses before April, you may get a clearer picture of each campus. You will also be able to collect information earlier, allowing yourself more time to process it.
- Surf the web. We realize that many of you did your initial college searches last summer. You visited various web sites to determine which colleges have the programs that were of interest to you. Now is the time to peel away the layers to find out which programs offer the most opportunities for you both during college and in the future. For example, if you applied only to schools that offer a pre-medical program, have you done the research to determine each college's medical school placement rate? (We'll get you started: In 2006, 91% of BC's senior medical school applicants with a minimum GPA of 3.2 and a minimum MCAT score of 9.0 were admitted to at least one accredited medical school. This is nearly twice the national average).
At most colleges, admission officers are facing their busiest time of year right now, attempting to review thousands of applications in just over two months. While they are out of the office reviewing applications, the Internet becomes one of the best places to acquire this information.
- Speak with current students. Get in touch with old high school friends who are currently attending the colleges to which you are applying. You don't personally know anyone who attends your top choice schools? Most likely, your high school guidance office keeps data of where its alumni went to college. With only the student's name, you can search most colleges' online directories to find the email addresses of current students at each college.
Send them a note to find out how the year is going. Current college students are among the best resources for information, and most love to talk about their schools. Keep in mind, however, that these students will likely be biased by their love of their school, but you can use this information to compare and contrast your potential options.
If no one from your high school has ever attended the colleges on your list, contact each college to see if students might be available to speak with you. Boston College, for example, invites you to speak with members of our Student Admission Program. The SAP was created to offer advice and assistance to prospective students and is made up of more than 800 volunteers. Members of the SAP can be reached from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday–Friday, during the academic year at 617-552-3378.
We hope that you will use some of these suggestions in order to put yourself in a better position to make the best possible decision in April. You may not be admitted to every school to which you have submitted an application, but continuing to investigate each school now will help you to feel confident that you will be attending the school that is best for you. If nothing else, it will help pass the time between now and April!