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How to Be Supportive This College Decision Season

You've waited months for your college admission decisions. As letters roll in, consider how you can be supportive of friends during this stressful time.

As the release of admission decisions begins, students find themselves being bombarded with questions about where they’ve decided to go and social media posts of peers choosing their colleges. Dealing with friends getting accepted while you’re still waiting to hear back and having to respond to these questions can be difficult. And while it’s okay to feel frustrated that you haven’t heard, it’s not fair to others to minimize their excitement by being negative. Here’s some advice on how to react when your friends have picked their dream school and you’re still waiting to hear.

Be honest

If you haven’t heard back from any schools yet, you shouldn’t lie when questioned about them. A good response is, “I haven’t heard back yet, but I will definitely keep you updated when I do.” If a person continues to ask questions about your top-choice colleges and you don’t feel comfortable discussing it, try saying, “It’s a little difficult to discuss colleges without having heard back from them. Maybe we could talk about something else?” Remember, people are only asking because they care about you and are proud of you for taking on the challenge of applying to college and facing that potential rejection, so make sure to be nice to them. They’re most likely not aware that discussing it could make you feel uncomfortable, so letting them know in a gentle manner won’t hurt their feelings. 

Related: 4 Questions to Ask if You Get a Rejection Letter 

Think before you post on social media

While you may see your friends posting acceptances all over Instagram and Facebook, resist the urge to imitate this until you’ve heard back from all the schools you’ve applied to. Social media is public, and your admission officer may be able to see what you’ve posted. Posting about getting accepted into other colleges may affect their decision. The last thing you want is to not get accepted to a school due to a post about a different acceptance.

Once you do hear back from all your schools, it’s totally fine to post about getting accepted. You deserve congratulations for your amazing accomplishments! However, don’t post something belittling any schools or pointing out your safety schools. This isn’t only because it sends a bad message, but your friends who see this post may be proud of themselves for getting into a school that you just insulted. Getting into college is always something to be proud of, regardless of the school. Stay positive on social media and make sure to comment congratulations on other people’s posts. As for what you post on social media, make sure it reflects well on you. This is a good rule of thumb for every person at any stage in their life, but remember that admission can be revoked if you display poor behavior. Keep your posts clean and let them highlight all the wonderful things in your life that you want to share with the world.

Related: How to Lose Your College Acceptance

Don’t let other people’s acceptance get you down

Hearing about others getting accepted can be difficult to deal with. Jealousy is normal, but don’t let it rule your life. If seeing posts on social media is putting negative feelings into your mind, limit how much time you spend on it. You can also throw yourself into other projects to get your mind off of it until you start to hear back from your schools. If your friends talk about college a lot, congratulate them on their acceptance, then steer the conversation elsewhere. You won’t be able to avoid college talk entirely, but you might be able to limit it. The most important thing to remember is to be supportive. Time will pass by faster than you think, and soon enough you’ll be sharing your own acceptances!

Consider your friends’ feelings

If you get into a college that you know is your friend’s dream school when they either haven’t heard back or got rejected, make sure to be courteous of this. Don’t rub it in—treat them as you would like to be treated if the tables were turned. If any of the previous suggestions you want to employ for yourself, consider sharing this advice with your friend to help them through processing all these emotions too.

Related: Some Tough Love Advice to Help You Get Over a College Rejection Letter

Waiting on a college acceptance and, certainly, dealing with rejection is not easy, but as in all things, we should remain courteous and kind to fellow human beings. Try to be excited for your friends and peers who are getting good news to pursue their dreams. And know that your answer is coming—and if you don’t get into your dream school, your life was meant for an even better path.

For more advice on coping with the college admission process and decision season, check out our College Admission section!

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About Rebecca Barer

I am an avid reader, and I devote most of my time to writing and cooking. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family and generally enjoying life. I'm so excited to start at Johns Hopkins University this fall!

 

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