2 Million High School Seniors Are On the Verge Of a Nervous Breakdown


"In like a lion and out like a lamb," in classic folklore, may refer to meteorological conditions, but whoever coined the idiom could never have foreseen its remarkable relevance to the mental states of 21 century American high school seniors as they navigate the tumultuous month of March, and the release of college admissions decisions.  

Currently, some 2 million 18-year-olds across the country and around the world anxiously await the responses of U.S. universities that have spent the last three months reviewing their applications. After four years of classes, standardized tests, extra-curricular extravagance, and puzzling essay prompts (did any of you actually find x?), seniors will finally reap the benefits of their hard work.   

In recent years, slightly less than 70% of high school graduates have enrolled in college, the majority of whom must certainly have fallen prey to the emotional whirlwind of applications, admissions, and decisions that consume their final year of high school. Last week, the Ivy League released their admissions decisions, setting record lows in seven out of eight of the university admissions rates. As the annual onslaught of delight, disbelief, and disappointment ensues during the next few weeks, students will wrap up their high school careers, and embark on the journey to college.

An overabundance of advice exists on the admissions process and the dos and don'ts of applying to college. Websites, magazines, and private college admissions counselors making a bundle off of their wisdom (and connections), are available for that. As a current university student, not too far removed from the college admissions frenzy, I will attempt to offer some guidance on one of the more under-discussed aspects of the entire ordeal, after the climactic month of March: the post-decision denouement.

The month of March has reached its conclusion and soon seniors will be faced with some decision-making of their own. Now's the easy part. Step back, relax, and take a look at some choice social media that will help shed light on (or perhaps, make light of) the mysterious college admissions process:


Tina Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer in her latest film released this month.

(Having a secret birth-mother admissions officer won't work for all of us.)

College Confidential

A collection of gems from CollegeConfidential.com, the world's largest college forum (and breeding ground for college-related anxiety).

As the decision-date nears tensions grow across the forum:

and his unsupportive friend…

Really, tensions are mounting:

There's no room for humor:

Inside Scoop

Investigative work by students at Yale, Harvard, and Princeton reveal the truth behind the admissions process, and what matriculation at university will really be like:

Inside the Princeton admissions office:

Why Harvard thinks you should choose Yale:

Down to Business

The Huffington Post has rounded up a list of the top 10 weirdest college classes offered at schools across the country. 

Lucky Appalachian State students will be able to spend a semester answering the question, "what if Harry Potter is Real?" Students at the University of Texas can pick up French, Latin, or Klingon, and Colby College students will learn to make portable frescos.

Parents will also be thrilled to learn that their children will be able to maximize utility of their college tuition, taking classes in subjects including "The Joys of Garbage," "Looking at Animals," and "How to Watch TV."

But in all seriousness, college admissions is, for many, a highly stressful process, and the conclusion of it itself should be celebrated, no matter the outcome. It seems that an anonymous commentator on The New York Times college admissions blog, Choice, truly has the right idea.