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How to make best use of the Waiting Period

Seniors, how’s the waiting period going? You know, the time between when you’ve submitted all your applications and the time you heard back from the schools you really care about? It’s a little nerve-wracking, isn’t it?

We’ve compiled a list to make the most of your waiting period that goes beyond the usual hum-drum lists (a. keep your grades up, b. don’t panic):

1. Use this as an opportunity to research the schools you have already gotten into, beyond what you researched before applying.  What is the course load requirement for graduation? This can be found out by determining the credit load requirement (e.g. 128 credits) and dividing by the typical credit given per class (e.g. 4). and dividing again per year and per semester. To see an example of how much this can vary, let’s consider Harvey Mudd College (128 credits / 3 credits / 4 years / 2 semesters = 5 and 1/3 classes per semester) and UCSD (180 credits / 4 credits / 4 years / 3 quarters = 3 and 3/4 classes per quarter). While the knowledge amount might be the same in the end, your comfort level during your education may vary widely depending on which school you choose.

2. Start reading up on the difference between scholarships, grants, and loans.

3. Calculate travel time and cost to potential schools from home, including connecting flights, travel to and from the airport (Uber? Airport Shuttle? friends’ largesse?).

4. Check out the school calendars. Are there breaks over the whole week of Thanksgiving or just Thursday and Friday? Will you be able to go back home over Thanksgiving break?

5. Check out your potential spots: where you may be able to get a quick bite, where you may be able to “escape” to, and where you’ll be studying.

Any other ideas of what you’ve been thinking about in your waiting period? As always, don’t fail your classes, sit tight, and enjoy your last few months with friends and family. Things are about to change in huge ways, so try to savor the last of this piece of your life as best you can.

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