It’s The Most Stressful Time Of The Year For High School Seniors: College Acceptance Letters Are Out

Madison Sollows is all smiles. She got into her first choice: Suffolk University.

Madison Sollows is all smiles. She’s going to St. Anselm College.

Spring, a time of new beginning and new possibilities. Flowers begin to bloom, the smell of nature is in the air and school is coming to a close. But for high school seniors on the Cape and across the U.S., March is the most stressful time of the year. Because March means running home every day to check the mail, hoping for that big fat envelope from the No. 1 college on your list.

That thick manila envelope, which usually means you’re in, can bring tears of joy; but a measly little thin envelope – a sure sign of rejection – can bring despair.

“I was so excited to receive my acceptance letter I almost fainted,” said Ariana Cruz, a senior at Barnstable High School. “I had just gotten out of school and I rushed home, per usual, to go check the mail, and there it was. Sitting in a pile with all of my other mail was the letter I had been waiting months for.”

The letter was from Suffolk University in Boston – Ariana’s first choice.

“At first I was disappointed because it didn’t look like anything special, but when I opened it I was shocked to see my acceptance letter, an award letter, and a sticker for my car! I put down my deposit that night. It was the most exciting night of my senior year so far.”

Cruz is one of the lucky ones; she got into her dream school right off the bat. But with most selective schools rejecting the majority of applicants, there are bound to be disappointments – lots and lots of them.

Rejection Is Hard, But You’ll Bounce Back!

Emma, also a senior at Barnstable High School who asked us not to use her last name, remembers the day she was turned down by the school of her dreams, Northeastern University in Boston.

“I was so heartbroken. I had been dreaming of what it would be like to go there and live in a city, and in an instant that dream was crushed,” she said. “I remember texting my best friend and her comforting me, telling me I would find another school I loved just as much.

“At the time I didn’t believe her, I figured no matter what school I got accepted into wouldn’t be as great as Northeastern. But she ended up being right. I got an acceptance letter from Quinnipiac, my second choice school, a week later and everything is turning out great. I have yet to put my deposit down, because I’m waiting to hear back from a couple other schools and weighing my options financially, but I got to visit Quinnipiac and I loved it.”

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At Barnstable High, Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Ted Skirvan, a guidance counselor at Barnstable High School says he hears this a lot.

“When we first start the process with students, I know that everyone has that kind of pinnacle school that they want to go to… but if they don’t get into that one, it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “Other schools they have applied for have similar programs, so usually once they hear from other schools, it kind of softens the blow for them a little. Most people bounce back pretty well.”

Madison Sollows, also a senior at Barnstable, thought she knew exactly where she wanted to go to college – until she actually went there.

“My first choice college was Salve Regina University in Rhode Island,” she said. “I was so nervous… but I got accepted and they gave me a lot of money. But I did an overnight visit and I didn’t love it.”

Madison ended up deciding that the right choice for her was Saint Anselm’s College in Manchester, N.H.

“I also did an overnight there and ended up loving it,” said Madison, who is captain of Barnstable’s varsity volleyball team and wants to continue playing in college. “It really came down to money and they offered me the most in athletic and merit scholarships.”

Good News: Most Everyone Loves Whatever College They Go To

And then there are the lucky students: the ones who applied to college early acceptance and have known for months where they’ll be heading come the fall.

“I committed to Fairfield (University) in late August so I didn’t even get to apply to any other schools,” said Tyler Shibles, a standout tennis player at Barnstable High. “One of their coaches saw me at a tournament and came up to me afterwards and started talking to me and it just went from there.”

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Wherever these seniors end up, chances are, they will love it.

Going to college and living on your own is a huge, life-changing experience. The good news is, most students end up loving the college they go to and things turn out better than how they had imagined.

“I just try to put everything into perspective for students because at the end of the day students are applying to a lot of schools, but they will only being going to one school,” said Skirvan. “So we are trying to find the best fit for them.”

— By Kaitlyn Holzworth

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