Combatting the anxiety induced by “your admission status has been updated”

CC Lodge, Staff Writer

As April 1 approaches, many high school seniors are feeling the pressure of the impending last waves of college decisions set to come out. While some see this as a dreadful time, it is important to remember that your college decision is not an end-all-be-all factor in your future success. Though, that is not to say that rejection from a school isn’t a difficult disappointment to endure. In fact, the serious impacts of rejection on student mental health should be handled delicately so that graduating seniors make it out of the college decision season with a hopeful mindset.

Having a ‘dream school’ can generate stress in the long run, despite the initial motivation it induces. With a one-track mind, students may overlook the colleges that are accepting them. On facing self-criticism due to rejection, Dulaney College and Career Readiness counselor Julie Wheeler recommends focusing on the places that have accepted you to discover unique features you like about them.

When asked about the stigma around going to schools thought of as “safety schools”, Dulaney counselor Katie Owens says that those who judge people who want to go to a school with a high acceptance rate often stop considering what is best for said individual.

“That might be the perfect place for them, whether or not they could’ve gotten in elsewhere. You feel the need to say ‘well, I got into here and there, but I’m choosing to go here’. For one, it’s nobody else’s business, and for two, if that is the place that you feel like works for you, that’s wonderful,” Owens says.

Comparison is another issue that comes with the decision process. It is important to note that “high acceptance rates” are subjective– a safety school for one person might be a reach school for another. 

“You guys live in a unique space. Dulaney has students getting 1600s on their SAT and going to Harvard. Those are fabulous things, but what it frequently ends up doing is making really awesome humans feel less-than. At the end of the day, the only person who you should ever be competing against is yourself,” Owens says.

For many seniors, deciding where they will be for the next years of their lives is the first major decision they are faced with, and an intimidating one to be sure. It is easy to forget that you are not alone amidst this stressful time. Nearly everyone will experience rejection at some point in life. Getting this first one out of the way just goes to show that you can persevere through hard times and come out stronger in the end.  

“None of us are where we are without having failed along the way. If you are, you’re doing something wrong and living in the fear of rejection. Once you feel it, you live it and you survive it, and then you have this benchmark of something you got through. It’s empowering,” Owens says. 

Students can benefit from talking to parents, teachers, counselors and friends about feelings of inadequacy. It is more than likely that they can relate your disappointment to a moment in their own lives and share advice about how they overcame their struggles.

When asked about other reassuring resources for seniors to turn to, Wheeler says she always looks forward to reading the Dulaney Griffin senior edition. The map of future college plans demonstrates how there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ option after high school. When receiving admissions decisions, it is important for students to remember that there are many great schools spread across the country for them to choose from even if their first choice does not accept them.

Be on the lookout for the annual senior edition of the Griffin coming out in May to see where our school’s wonderful seniors end up!