College Admissions Trigger Anxiety


Sofia Kirienko, 12, solemnly checks her inbox in anticipation of an admissions message

Catherine Best, Ranger Review Reporter

The beginning months of the spring semester generally signal a lull in the college-related stress which seniors face. Application deadlines have passed and most scholarships are just beginning to open their applications for the upcoming year. When March arrives, though, the anxiety levels of many graduating students once again spikes.

Almost every college in the nation without rolling admissions release their final decisions during the month of March. Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, two of the first schools to announce regular decision admissions results, posted on March 14; hundreds of other colleges followed suit and over half released their own information within the single week of March 24 to April 1.

“I applied to 18 schools, and I regret it so much,” Andie Turner, 12, said. “It’s crazy to get so many decisions at one time. I was literally accepted to one school and rejected from another on the same day.”

These kind of rapid and cumulative results can add extra pressure to seniors who are already preparing for upcoming AP tests or other end-of-year events.

“It’s definitely an emotional roller-coaster when those admissions decisions start coming out, so it’s good to know all your deadlines and when to expect those to come out. And then once they come out then you actually know where you stand. All the anticipation and doubt before are replaced by having to make the decision of where you’re actually going to go. I mean, it’s better to know what your options are, but at the same time, you can’t stall anymore. You have to make up your mind,” Sofia Kirienko, 12, said.

Many seniors suggest keeping busy in order to distract from the stress of waiting on admission.

“I think the best way to keep your mind off the anxiety and not dwell on it in the meantime is just to get busy applying for scholarships at the schools that you’re waiting to hear back from. If they’ve contacted you, then you just keep busy and fill out your FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid],” Kirienko said.

Some seniors, however, are experiencing relatively little stress. Those who applied for early admission in the fall have known about their results for months, and are able to approach March 31 without worry.

“I applied to the University of Wyoming and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, both of them back in August. For both of them I actually didn’t have to write any essays or anything like that; the most difficult part was just getting my transcript sent in around that time. Really, it’s been nice. I’ve known which schools accepted me since around October, so it’s been pretty nice having that much time to decide and get everything prepared,” Kimberly McNair, 12, said. “I got to find out about scholarship stuff pretty early, like before the end of first semester. So it took a lot of stress off.”

Even those who are no longer waiting on their own fates are observing and affected by the stressful environment after Spring Break.

“It definitely is an emotional roller-coaster. I have a lot of friends who’ve been accepted to three or four schools within the same week and they have no idea where they’re going to go or how exactly to handle all of it,” McNair said.

The seniors have some advice for their fellow students, and the juniors who will be experiencing this phenomenon next year:

“Definitely know the requirements for staying admitted once you get that information, especially for honors programs. That way you can better manage your time when it comes to maintaining necessary grades and spending time exploring different programs at the school of your choice,” Kirienko said.

Most importantly, all the seniors recommend staying positive about any admissions decisions, no matter the outcome.