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Articles / Applying to College / December Jitters

December Jitters

Dave Berry
Written by Dave Berry | Dec. 11, 2014
As I write this, paranoid Ivy applicants (the EA/ED/SCEA kind) are on pins and needles awaiting this afternoon's results from Brown University. Over the coming week, all of the Ivies and some other so-called “elites" will be sending out their good, bad, and “purgatory" (deferred/waitlisted) news to applicants around the globe. I've been through this with my own children and, as a parent, I can tell you that parents can fall prey to paranoia too.

To give you an idea of the kinds of uptightness going around these days, I thought that I would present some samples of applicants' posts from the “early" forums on College Confidential. The full gamut of emotions permeates their comments.

Here we go …

Brown University

– SO NERVOUS!!!!!!!!

– I had horrible nightmares last night that I got rejected. That wasn't the bad part though. I woke up maybe five times throughout the night because I'm sick and I kept getting rejected every time I went back to sleep. Today is finally the day! Best of luck to everyone. I won't be checking CC again until after decisions so good-bye!


– Couldn't sleep at all last night just thinking about today. Hopefully it wasn't for nothing…

– Holy crap, this anxiety is unbearable. If they come out at noon again, it's going to be so hard to not look until I get home.

– I've been thinking about just not checking my admission status tomorrow and showing up at Brown in Fall 2015 anyway.

Cornell University

– Thank goodness I don't have any tests or quizzes today….not sure if I could focus enough .

– The beginning of the end.

– Sigh… whatever happens, happens.

– Good luck everyone! I wish you all the best. As my daughter was leaving for school this dark and cold morning, I told her to try not to get too stressed today etc. and she looked at me and said, “Mom, I've convinced myself weeks ago that it's going to be a “no", so whatever happens, I'm neutral like Switzerland."

– … think of eating ur favourite food and i hope u can get by the next few hours. helped me when receiving my SAT scores

– No email from Cornell yet. Having a stomach full of butterflies

Harvard University

– OMG 8 HOURS AND 25 MINUTES… Ahhhh the day is finally here, and I don't know what to expect! I wish all of you the very best.. You guys are so amazing and I will definitely miss u :') You guys made this experience VERY special to me! MAY THE ODDS BE IN YOU FAVOR GUYS! Love you guys <3

– I'll be at a swim meet at 5 today so am definitely checking at some point before it ends so, if rejected, at least the win will cheer me up.

– If you haven't got a dream, how can you have a dream come true? Hang in there everyone. This anxt is part of the process. You can handle it. There will be joy and disappointment in the next twelve hours. You put the best you forward that you could. That's all you could do. All the best to everyone, no matter the outcome.

– Let's get ready for the longest school day of our lives.

– I had a dream I was at BU. I took it as a sign.

– Don't lose hope!!! " Dreams are nothing but silly imagination, as thin as air, and less predictable than the wind…"

Yale University

– To all of you who are stressing out.. Relax! Nothing is in your hand anymore! You all tried your best and it's all about luck now! Just relax and enjoy life! Everything is going to turn out the way it should be. Even if we don't get in, it's not the end of the world! If you're truly capable of getting in Yale, ull be able to make the best out of any college! Don't worry! PS. Listen to bob marley- mellow mood! It really helps!

– … I can't even function right now

– when do you think the soonest admissions will be sent out? i have already heard of some rejection


– I'll be in school when decisions come out on the 16th, and I'm planning on bringing a box of chocolates–either for celebration or comfort! I know I won't be able to wait it out.

– i feel like this thread is my personal support group right now

Columbia University

– it's almost here, the moment i get my rejection letter!!! Ok but on a serious note it has been really nice to chat with you guys on this thread just the fact that you had the confidence to apply to Columbia, a top school, shows how extraordinary you all are. I know, it's a cliche thing but you will all end up somewhere amazing if it's not Columbia. Good luck – almost time to move over to the results thread!!

– I am sitting in class right now, but my attention span is equivalent to that of a termite. This is gonna be a long day…

– not even twerking can calm me down anymore

– It feels so surreal how big of an impact tomorrow will have on my life. I feel like I'm not as nervous as I should be

– Does anyone else feel that they would rather be rejected than deferred?

– I cannot remember the last time I was this nervous…

Stanford University

– it's funny how I thought I was going to die few days ago if I get rejected, but now I honestly feel ready for a blow, whether it's a good one or a bad one

– For me, Friday could be a lot worse than I think it'll end up being.

– Nothing like trying write my Theory of Knowledge paper while stressing about Friday.

– I recommend to just keep checking email obsessively all day Friday

– I have the same thing on my phone. I was contemplating turning it off, too, but I honestly think I'd go even more crazy knowing that there could be an email from stanford just sitting on my phone, and I wouldn't know about it.

– I believe that everyone who is stressing out needs to take a deep breath. Don't set yourself up for failure.


For the complete range of anxiety-laden students, check the College Confidential discussion forum for your favorite school. What I extracted above just scratches the surface.

And, for all of you early applicants out there who are anxiously awaiting your decisions today, tomorrow, or next week, I wish you the very best. For those of you who experience disappointment, just keep in mind that circumstances in life have a way of working out for the best.

I realize that my consolation statement may not be of any comfort to you today or next week, but years from now, as you look back over your life and the path that your have taken, you will very likely see that — to quote the Sixties rock group The Mamas & the Pappas — “the darkest hour is just before dawn."


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles on College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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