The Eight Stages of College Apps

April 14, 2016

College is just around the corner for our seniors and Grace Brueggman, Class of 2016, is reflecting back on the Eight Stages of College Apps! 

1. The Search Begins

Junior Year you start thinking about what classes you have enjoyed and how those could translate into a major and/or a prospective career. You go onto and Naviance to see what schools have your potential majors. You add all the Ivey Leagues to you “Interested” list because they are the Iveys. 

2. Road Trip!

Your list narrows a bit and when Spring Break Junior year comes around, you visit some of the schools you are interested in. Your parents come along and want to take your picture in front of the school’s main sign. Your walk around giddily as you picture yourself walking through campus as an undergraduate.

3. Common App Opens

August rolls around and the Common App is open. You excitedly write your essay, then scrap it because it’s just not good enough to get you into college. You spend time drafting essay after essay, trying to weigh the benefits over writing an emotional piece, trying to have them pity you and let you in, and writing an inspiring piece over who you hope to become with the resources available to you at X institution. You add your schools, at first the list has 17 schools on it, but then you look at how many schools have supplemental essays and you cut it down to 8. 

4. Early Decision and Early Action Decision Letters Are Out!

Mid December rolls around and one of four things happens:

  • You ED’ed somewhere and got in! This is a cause for celebration! You go out with your friends and get ice cream because you are done and have nothing else to do but withdraw your applications to any other schools you applied to. Senioritis hits you really strong because you have nothing else to work for. (Now skip to #8)
  • You were deferred from the school you Ed’ed, and have to wait until Regular Decisions are out. You are relieved over not being flat out rejected, but now you have the decision looming over your head for a few more months
  • You were accepted into a school you applied Early Action to, and you’re excited because it’s your first college acceptance, but you can’t make a decision until you hear from your Regular Decision Schools. More waiting…
  • You were rejected from a school you applied Early Action to but you are okay because you still have a bunch of schools to hear from for Regular Decision. Still, the agony of waiting is too much to bear.

5. Regular Decisions are Out!

March is here and you know what that means, RD Decisions are out! You are being pummeled with letters every week from different schools, some with good news, some with bad, but it is all happening so fast, you can barely react to one letter before you get the next. The days blur together, but some letters stand out and you narrow your list even further. Now you are down to deciding between 2 or 3 schools.

6. Waitlist

You are told to wait even longer for your decision. You hold out hoping to get into this prestigious school which, as luck would have it, is also your top choice. You put a security deposit down on your second choice to hold your spot and cross your fingers for good news in July.

7. Making YOUR Decision

You weigh all your options and compare the costs of attendance and location. You think back to your campus visits and try to remember that fuzzy feeling you had a year ago when you were on campus. Maybe you go back and do an overnight stay at one of your top choices. You talk to your parents, your friends, your college counselor, and after weeks of debating, May 1st comes and you have to make a decision. You send in your deposit. You attend a Committed Students Day. Your falling second-semester grades no longer seem to bother you as much.

8. Shock and Disbelief

You Graduate High School and sometime in the middle of the summer you worry you picked the wrong school. You have price tag shock. You eventually have a mental break down over not being ready to go to college. But in the end, you realize you have been preparing for this your entire life and YOU. ARE. READY. There will be doubts and possibly regrets, but that would have been true no matter where you went, so you decide to make the best of it and go into your freshman year with the best attitude possible. You search the accepted students Facebook page, pick out a roommate, and chat with your future classmates. It becomes more and more real that this school is about to be your home for the next four years and the people you meet will become your new family. No matter what though, you will always have your friends from high school and the memories you made with them to look back on.

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