After You Hit "Submit"
Here's the follow-up to my last post, "Before you hit 'submit.'"
Perhaps unsurprisingly to my clever followers, it is entitled, "After you hit 'submit,'" and I offer some pointers and mindsets for what to do after you've sent your carefully crafted chronicles of your life up to now out into the digital universe for kindly, enthusiastic admission readers to digest.
TL; DR? Do your best, let it go, check your email and portals periodically, plan wisely so that you can rest and recharge over the winter break! You got this!
Congrats! Take a deep breath and appreciate the thought, editing and hard work you've put in to tell your story and transcribe it into application forms and 650, 250, and 150 word prompts. Give yourself a break from application work for a couple of days.
Be prepared for emails, some of which will come almost immediately, reminding you of "missing" things like transcripts and letters of recommendation. Resist the urge to panic. If you have notified your counselor and teachers in advance, according you your school's guidelines, everything will be fine. It can take days to weeks for all of the materials to be matched up and acknowledged as received; the reminders are sent automatically to encourage you to complete the app.
Here's a secret: even if something apart from your own application goes out after the deadline, that's usually totally fine! There are human beings being all this, so if something was sent in error, something's missing after a reasonable time frame, or you discover a mistake, contact the college, and let your school counselor know. Sometimes things actually are lost along the way. It is likely easily remedied. Colleges want your application to be complete and correct.
Look through your email for invitations to set up an admissions portal. Many colleges use these to communicate with you and allow you to track progress.
Most colleges don't offer interviews, but some do, and the trigger for an interview invitation might be your application -- so keep an eye on email and portals for that opportunity.
Remember what I said about giving yourself a short break? Do that... and also after you submit a first round of applications (if you have deadlines in November / December, and also Regular Decision plans for January), keep working while you have momentum and are in the groove of writing supplements, etc. (Hopefully you have figured out how you can recycle and repurpose some of the text from these!)
Again, don't wait for a response to an Early Decision application to work on your Regular Decision (or possible ED2) applications. Among the lessons of the application process are living with uncertainty, and accepting that we don't have control over outcomes. The fact is that any application might not yield an admissions offer. It's easy to underestimate the impact of disappointment on your mindset, if it also means that you are suddenly jumping into a hurried new round of applciation work. Take care of it now, so it is ready to go! If you do get into an ED school-- great, you are done!
My best advice is to complete all your application work by early December, enjoy your mid-year break, and start the second half of senior year refreshed and with the college application work behind you, so that you can enjoy your last months at home, in school, and with your friends!