If you get into one of your top schools, your first instinct can be to share your good news with the world. However, there are many factors that may cause you to hesitate. You may worry that your pride in your accomplishment will come across as bragging. This worry can be especially bad if you’re one of the only people in your community to be going to an elite school, or any four-year college. If you went to a competitive high school, have friends and classmates who also applied to your college, or have extended family that tallies successes and failures, you may feel that your admission will become a topic of conversations you’re not privy to. However, being coy about your acceptance can also come across badly. What’s a prefrosh to do?
College admissions jealousy is real, and we’ve seen friendships broken over admissions decisions. It can be tempting to tell your closest friends or the person you’re dating as soon as you get the news, but we recommend that you wait and tell them in person, not via an all-caps text message. Meet up face-to-face, feel out their mood and how worried they are for their own chances, and decide whether or not to wait longer. Make sure to tell anyone you do tell that you’re keeping it private for now – parents especially can be eager to share with their own friends, which can quickly spread to your peers.
We suggest keeping quiet on admissions to everyone but your closest friends and immediate family until high school graduation or until the deposit is due. 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, and this can sting even more if you don’t even decide 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.
At that point, 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, don’t be coy about it. It’s much better to say “Harvard” followed by “Thanks, I’m really excited,” than to play the “Oh, somewhere in New England… Boston… well, Cambridge…” game. Preemptively expecting people to be jealous and trying to soften the blow can come across as conceited.
At the end of the day, it is nobody else’s business. You are under no obligation to share, although keep in mind that people will figure it out anyway in the fall.