College Application Booster​®: High School Seniors, Get ahead on your college application!

Waiting on an Ivy League Admission Decision? Here’s What To Do While You Wait

Mar 6, 2024

Whether you were deferred in the early application round or you are awaiting a decision from a school you applied to regular decision, waiting can be one of the most challenging aspects of the college admissions process. The period of time between now and Ivy Day in late March can easily feel like an eternity for students hoping to receive an acceptance letter from their dream school.

While it’s natural to feel anxious and restless, there are proactive steps you can take to make the most of this period of anticipation. Instead of passively waiting for the verdict, use your time to prepare for the next chapter of your academic journey.

Consider taking these three action steps as you await your college admissions results:

1. Prepare for AP and IB Exams

While it may be tempting to succumb to senioritis, it is important for students to remember that there are still significant academic milestones ahead. Offers of admission are often contingent upon the maintenance of a certain academic performance, so earning a strong GPA should remain a priority. Additionally, students should spend time and effort preparing for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams. These exams are not only important for bolstering your academic profile, but they can also count for college credit at certain colleges and universities. Students should research the policies at the schools on their list, reaching out to admissions offices as needed to confirm whether qualifying exam scores can be applied toward course credit.

2. Plan Your Summer

The months between submitting college applications and receiving decisions present the ideal opportunity to plan your summer. The summer before college is a critical time to get a leg up on academics, intern in your field of interest, or volunteer with an organization you have been involved with throughout your high school years. You can also consider attending summer programs specifically targeted to rising college freshmen.

Alternatively, consider pursuing personal projects or hobbies that you haven’t had time for during the hectic college application process. While working, learning, and volunteering are important uses of your time, it is important to remember that the summer is also a great opportunity to spend quality time with friends, family, and members of your community who are important to you before you head off to school.

Creating a structured plan for your summer can help you stay focused, motivated, and engaged while you await college admissions decisions. Whether you’ll be traveling, working, volunteering, or pursuing personal interests, thoughtful planning can help you make the most of your time and contribute to your personal growth and development.

3. Apply for Scholarships

While waiting for college admissions decisions, take advantage of the opportunity to apply for scholarships. Scholarships are a valuable source of financial aid that can significantly reduce the cost of college tuition, textbooks, and living expenses. Many scholarships are available for high school seniors based on academic merit, extracurricular involvement, community service, leadership abilities, and other criteria.

Research scholarship opportunities offered by colleges and universities, community organizations, foundations, corporations, and professional associations. Sites such as or are useful resources you can use to identify funding sources that you are eligible for. Create a calendar of scholarship deadlines and requirements, and prioritize your applications based on eligibility and potential award amounts. Finally, be sure to submit all required materials, including essays, letters of recommendation, and transcripts well before deadlines to ensure your application receives full consideration.

While waiting for college admissions decisions can be nerve-wracking, it is essential to use this time productively and prepare for the next chapter of your academic journey. By focusing on final exam preparation, planning your summer activities, and applying for scholarships, you can make the most of this waiting period and position yourself for success in college and beyond.

Originally published on Forbes.

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