If you are reading this article because you recently got into one of your top schools, then let us be among the first to say congratulations! Your hard work and dedication has paid off, and you should be overjoyed and proud of what you accomplished! Before you consider sharing your news with others, you should take a moment to appreciate the moment and let yourself be happy.
Now that you’ve taken a moment, your first instinct may be to share your good news with the world. However, many factors may cause you to hesitate. You may worry that your pride in your accomplishment will come across as bragging. You might also be concerned that your friends and classmates may feel discouraged if they did not get into any of their top choices for college. You may even have an extremely competitive extended family who may view your success as a measuring stick by which to compare themselves to “avoid failure.” While we encourage not getting too wrapped up in what others may think, it can be important to consider respecting others and their feelings. Given these concerns, you might be wondering how, when, and to whom should you break the news.
The most important factors to consider when choosing how and when to share your big news are your circumstances and environment. Is your high-school laid-back or fiercely competitive about college admissions? Are you one of the only people in your community who will attend an elite school or even a four-year college? Does your friend group nonchalantly talk about colleges, or do you feel an air of competition whenever the topic arises? What remarks have your friends and family made when discussing college, one’s success, or similar topics? All of these questions can help you determine how to respectfully approach the topic with others.
What Can Go Wrong?
College admissions jealousy is real, and friendships can become strained over admissions decisions. If you’re unsure about how your closest friends or the person you’re dating will react to the news of your admission, wait and tell them in person, not via an all-caps text message. Meet up face-to-face, and feel out their mood along with how worried they are about their own chances. Then decide whether or not to wait longer before sharing your news. Make sure to inform anyone you tell that you’re keeping your news private for now – parents especially can be eager to share news of their children’s acceptances with their own friends, which can quickly spread to your peers.
Additionally, telling numerous people about the colleges you have been accepted into can result in unnecessary pressure and unwanted advice. You may be choosing between two or three options, and hearing others’ opinions may complicate the decision making process. For example, you may have been accepted to a top school and received a full-ride to a school that’s less prestigious. Choosing to attend the top school may place a crippling financial burden on you and your family.
Ultimately, your college decision is yours to make, and others’ insight might only cause you to second guess your choice. The remaining half of senior year should be a time of celebration. You should soak up the rest of your high school experience before the next chapter of your life, but tension and hard-feelings among your friends and family could darken an otherwise wonderful time of your life.
If you are uncertain about the ramifications your admissions announcement could have on your social circles, we suggest keeping quiet about admissions to everyone but your closest friends and immediate family until high school graduation, or at least until your deposit is due. If you plan to keep the knowledge confined to a select group that you trust, it is important to stress that you do not want them telling anyone else. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell people that you’re deciding between a few colleges and don’t want to share until you’ve picked one. It’s entirely possible someone you know didn’t get accepted into their dream school and you did. This can sting even more if you choose not to go there. You also don’t want people to find out you got into an elite school and assume that’s where you’re going. It can be tough telling people you’ve decided to go to St. John’s when everyone knows you got into Columbia.
Once you have put the deposit down, it’s appropriate to make a brief social media announcement. Delaying until everything is set in stone can also save you the potential embarrassment if an insufficient financial aid package, a rescindment, or other factors prevent you from attending. When you do start telling people, be honest and allow yourself to be excited. It’s much better to say “Harvard” followed by “Thanks, I can’t wait!” than to play the “Oh, somewhere in New England… Boston… well, Cambridge…” game. Pretending that you’re not thrilled about the payoff of all your hard work can sometimes come across as ungrateful or impassionate. Those around you know that you’re proud of your accomplishment, and your genuine excitement can remind them that you’re their friend and not just a rival in the game of college admissions.
Don’t Let Your Announcement Get in the Way of your Friendships!
This advice might not be necessary for students who come from collaborative environments where those around you will be genuinely happy for you instead of jealous, but announcing college acceptances can be a delicate process for many. At the end of the day, you are under no obligation to share your news of admission, and respecting other’s feelings does not mean you have to suppress your own joy! What’s most important is getting ready for the next step in your life and enjoying the last months of high school with your friends!