What not to do 24 hours before early decisions come out

Editor’s note: This is an updated version of a previous post that went up two years ago, 24 hours before early decisions were released. These tips and tricks worked amazingly well for prospective students back in 2012 (and, not to mention, for all of us when we applied), and they’ll work well for you now. Take heed. Good luck!

Dear Brown 2019 Early Decision applicants,

We’ve been there. Those 24 hours before college decisions go viral are the most excruciating hours of everyone’s high school career. You’d think applying early decision to a school would make the wait a little less painful, but it’s a college admissions rite of passage everyone must go through… and it sucks. It’s also very easy to be overwhelmed by the thrill of it all— the reminder e-mails from admissions officers (as if you haven’t had the date marked on the calendar since the moment you submitted your application), the nagging calls from distant family members (just because you haven’t talked to them since last Christmas doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten how to be overly intrusive) and the thought that your future will be decided in the coming hours (I guess there’s always Harvard…).

But you can’t let it get to you. Life will go on, regardless of the decision you receive at 5:00 p.m. EST. Keep repeating that to yourself as you decide how to spend the next hours before you get the fateful e-mail. You might be compelled to do certain things, like cry your eyes out to James Blunt (is he still relevant?) or bash your head into a wall, that you will surely regret the day after. As a former ED applicant, I will impart some of my wisdom to you, the stressed-out high schooler, for what not to do on the big day. (Author’s note: Some of these tips are based on actual events. Do not judge me.) 

  • Don’t post a live countdown to the decision on Facebook. It’s a double-edged sword: everyone knows you’re anxious, and the Internet’s a good place to vent your frustration. But if you don’t get in, odds are there will be one nosy person on your profile asking, “Well, what’s the verdict?”
  • Don’t go on College Confidential. I’m not even posting the link to the site here, because I know the temptation’s there as you read this. Going on this masochistic website is a rookie mistake. You’ll gain nothing from it except extreme self-awareness and a conviction that you have no future (spoiler alert: you do!).
  • Don’t wear Brown paraphernalia the day the decision comes out. Personally, I’m very superstitious. I hid all of the Brown gear I had accumulated in a box from the day I submitted my application until the day I got in. Maybe I was a tad too extreme about it, but it’s inappropriate to strut your way to homeroom with a Brown sweatshirt the day you’re waiting to hear back from them. It could just be bad karma, but you don’t want to be the cocky senior who was just too sure of his extracurricular cred.
  • Don’t spend the afternoon by yourself. It’s going to be a rough few hours once you’re done with school and extracurriculars. If you’re just sitting at home alone, you won’t be able to work on practice AP exams. Call some friends and have lunch somewhere or take your sibling out to a movie. Moral of the story: don’t lock yourself up. Get out of the house. Boredom will lead to overthinking, which will lead to anxiety, which will not lead to good things. Chillax, bro.

It’s unfortunate that generally early decision notifications coincide with finals (at least they did in my high school). But that shouldn’t stop you from distracting yourself! This is not the time to be freaking out about academics. You have bigger fish to fry. Here is a list of things to do while you’re expecting (… see what I did there?). This is by no means a comprehensive list— just a few ideas to get the ball rolling. You know your procrastination vice, so now’s your time to exploit it to the max.

  • Turn off your phone. People will start calling and texting you at around 5:01 p.m. EST— it’s a given. And just a fair warning, the Brown website may crash as thousands of other antsy high schoolers check their decision statuses at the same time. So you don’t need your frenemy texting you, “Did you get in? I got in to Georgetown, no biggie.” Turn the phone on once you’ve gotten the verdict and been able to process the news. It’s for your peace of mind, trust me.
  • Use Self Control when checking your email as 5:00 p.m. approaches. The rumors that sometimes colleges post the decisions a bit early are false, at least in Brown’s case. I started refreshing the page over and over again for twenty minutes before the scheduled e-mail blast, and it was more frustrating than rewarding. Do yourself a favor and don’t check your e-mail compulsively. It won’t make time go by faster.
  • Look at pictures of cute animals. Who says animals falling asleep can’t fix everything?

No matter what happens on December 11th, at 5p.m., BlogDH will always have your back. Good luck, everyone!

Image via.


  1. Julia

    Okay, I may have found this on college confidential… But, I actually saved a bunch of puppy pictures just in case I’m sad tomorrow. Great minds think alike??

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