Waiting For Admissions Results: How To Stay Sane

graduate admissions results

 

All your applications are submitted. The holidays are over. All that’s left is waiting for graduate admissions results to roll in. Life is great, right?

WRONG.

In reality, this is usually the worst part of the whole ordeal. Years of your life, thousands of dollars, and your entire future hang in the balance. And what can you do? Nothing. You’re forced to just sit and wait. It’s enough to drive anyone insane.
It’s a terrible feeling, but you’re not alone. All over the world people just like you are sitting in front of their email, obsessively hitting refresh. Checking application websites every hour to see if anyone posted anything. Asking pointless questions on Reddit in an attempt to spew their insanity onto others and purge it from their minds. Snapping at your relatives over benign things. Rollercoasters of depression, excitement, anxiety, elation, despair. Waiting for graduate admissions results is brutal.
How can you possibly make it another THREE MONTHS like this? It won’t be easy, but there are ways to make it easier. We promise, these tips (if followed) will make the time go by faster and ensure that you don’t needlessly waste months of your life in an unavoidable purgatory.

 

WAITING FOR GRADUATE ADMISSIONS RESULTS:

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR SANITY

 


  • → Get your email habit in check. Now. We can’t stress this enough. The compulsion to obsessively refresh your email is only going to get worse. There are two ways you can choose to deal with this (1) Set a specific ringtone for email notifications that go to your phone. Unless you actually hear that notification, don’t let yourself check your email. You know nothing is there. It won’t make you feel better. Put your phone down. (2) Turn off email to your phone entirely. Schedule 2 or 3 “email” times during the day, e.g. 9am and 5pm. Check your email those two times and NO MORE. I know it seems unbearable to think “What if they wrote me three hours ago and I just haven’t checked my email?” but here is the rub: those two hours you have the email and don’t see it are worth the hours and hours you’ll lose staring at gmail trying to will a response.

  • → Get an idea of how graduate admissions results will be sent out so that you aren’t frantically checking your phone, email, and mail every 15 minutes. Search for your programs on thegradcafe results page. They should tell you how previous year’s applicants were notified. If you see that many of them received phone calls, or that international applicants all received letters in the mail–make note of that. It will allow you to at least fixate on one communication system instead of three.

  • → Set goals for yourself and provide structure. If you’re still in school, you at least have the semester to distract you. If you’re working it might be a bit harder, but remember that this is only the beginning. Getting in means you have a long hard road. Use this time to get ahead. Study hard, read papers, research conferences. It will make the time go by faster and it will give you an edge next year. When you arrive, you’re going to be making new friends and likely living in a new city. Get some of the work out of the way now while you have time.

  • → It may seem heartbreaking, but this is also a good time to make yourself a solid backup plan in the event that you don’t get in. Thousands of excellent candidates get rejected from all the schools they applied to each year. It happens! Bad luck, poor school choices, and all around limited space plays a huge role. Getting rejected is going to feel MUCH worse if you have no game plan for how to handle the next year.

  • → If you’re someone who has time and inclination, give yourself a break! Take a trip, visit friends, go out and party. If you’re applying to graduate school it’s because you’ve been working really hard for a long time. A lot of academics end up socially awkward and emotionally stunted because they don’t allow themselves time to enjoy life and grow up. Waiting to hear back will fly by if you’re too busy exploring Southeast Asia to obsess (just make sure you can check your email every other day, and that you’ll be around for any potential interviews). Grad school is going to be LONG and EXHAUSTING. Avoid burn out by giving yourself time off.

  • → There are two schools of thought on human behavior. One is that sports help release aggression in a healthy way, the other is that they simply promote aggression in individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be aggressive. In truth, it completely depends on the individual. For some people, looking at thegradcafe every day, chatting on Reddit, and refreshing result profiles can be legitimately therapeutic. It makes them feel connected and helps the time go by faster. For others, it simply sucks them into a compulsive habit that’s hard to escape and emotionally damaging. Know thyself! If you know that looking at those sites makes you feel worse afterward, DON’T CHECK THOSE SITES. The information you get won’t make you hear back any faster. It won’t increase the likelihood of success. The only reason to do it is if it actually makes you feel better. And no matter who you are, never spend more than 1-2 hours a day browsing application sites and hitting refresh.

  • → Waiting for graduate admissions results to roll in can also be a trying time for your friends and family. In many cases, they won’t know what you’re going through, and won’t understand your anxiety. In other cases, they’ll be more anxious than you and will make waiting even more stressful. If possible find a friend who also applied this year. Try to hang out and grab coffee with them once or twice a week if possible. This way you guys can talk each other’s ears off about all your anxieties and worries without driving everyone else in your life nuts. They should also help keep you grounded in a way that others in your life can’t.

  • It’s likely that you’ll end up interviewing at some point in the next two months. In some cases you’ll have back to back weekend trips out of town to interview/visit campus. Rather than waiting to prepare, try focusing on that now. It’ll save you stress if/when the offers do roll in. At the very worst you’ll have honed your interview skills and learned more about field and academia in general–certainly not a waste of time. In the best case scenario, this extra prep time could mean an acceptance a few weeks from now.

  • → Use thegradcafe’s results page to give yourself an idea of when you’ll hear back. If previous year’s applicants (in your program) don’t start hearing back until mid-February, take a deep breath and let yourself forget about it for awhile. If applicants seem to hear back by mid-January, you know that your torture will be over with soon. If you can’t find any information online, go ahead and email the admissions department. That doesn’t mean hound them, but a quick email asking when you can expect to hear back about results is appropriate. They might not be that helpful, but in a lot of cases they’ll at least give you a ballpark (e.g. “We expect to start sending out acceptances by mid-March”).

Have any additional tips for how to handle the stress of waiting for graduate admissions results? Leave them in the comment section!
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Waiting For Admissions Results: How To Stay Sane

graduate admissions results December 24th, 2016

 

All your applications are submitted. The holidays are over. All that’s left is waiting for graduate admissions results to roll in. Life is great, right?

WRONG.

In reality, this is usually the worst part of the whole ordeal. Years of your life, thousands of dollars, and your entire future hang in the balance. And what can you do? Nothing. You’re forced to just sit and wait. It’s enough to drive anyone insane.
It’s a terrible feeling, but you’re not alone. All over the world people just like you are sitting in front of their email, obsessively hitting refresh. Checking application websites every hour to see if anyone posted anything. Asking pointless questions on Reddit in an attempt to spew their insanity onto others and purge it from their minds. Snapping at your relatives over benign things. Rollercoasters of depression, excitement, anxiety, elation, despair. Waiting for graduate admissions results is brutal.
How can you possibly make it another THREE MONTHS like this? It won’t be easy, but there are ways to make it easier. We promise, these tips (if followed) will make the time go by faster and ensure that you don’t needlessly waste months of your life in an unavoidable purgatory.

 

WAITING FOR GRADUATE ADMISSIONS RESULTS:

TIPS FOR MAINTAINING YOUR SANITY

 


  • → Get your email habit in check. Now. We can’t stress this enough. The compulsion to obsessively refresh your email is only going to get worse. There are two ways you can choose to deal with this (1) Set a specific ringtone for email notifications that go to your phone. Unless you actually hear that notification, don’t let yourself check your email. You know nothing is there. It won’t make you feel better. Put your phone down. (2) Turn off email to your phone entirely. Schedule 2 or 3 “email” times during the day, e.g. 9am and 5pm. Check your email those two times and NO MORE. I know it seems unbearable to think “What if they wrote me three hours ago and I just haven’t checked my email?” but here is the rub: those two hours you have the email and don’t see it are worth the hours and hours you’ll lose staring at gmail trying to will a response.

  • → Get an idea of how graduate admissions results will be sent out so that you aren’t frantically checking your phone, email, and mail every 15 minutes. Search for your programs on thegradcafe results page. They should tell you how previous year’s applicants were notified. If you see that many of them received phone calls, or that international applicants all received letters in the mail–make note of that. It will allow you to at least fixate on one communication system instead of three.

  • → Set goals for yourself and provide structure. If you’re still in school, you at least have the semester to distract you. If you’re working it might be a bit harder, but remember that this is only the beginning. Getting in means you have a long hard road. Use this time to get ahead. Study hard, read papers, research conferences. It will make the time go by faster and it will give you an edge next year. When you arrive, you’re going to be making new friends and likely living in a new city. Get some of the work out of the way now while you have time.

  • → It may seem heartbreaking, but this is also a good time to make yourself a solid backup plan in the event that you don’t get in. Thousands of excellent candidates get rejected from all the schools they applied to each year. It happens! Bad luck, poor school choices, and all around limited space plays a huge role. Getting rejected is going to feel MUCH worse if you have no game plan for how to handle the next year.

  • → If you’re someone who has time and inclination, give yourself a break! Take a trip, visit friends, go out and party. If you’re applying to graduate school it’s because you’ve been working really hard for a long time. A lot of academics end up socially awkward and emotionally stunted because they don’t allow themselves time to enjoy life and grow up. Waiting to hear back will fly by if you’re too busy exploring Southeast Asia to obsess (just make sure you can check your email every other day, and that you’ll be around for any potential interviews). Grad school is going to be LONG and EXHAUSTING. Avoid burn out by giving yourself time off.

  • → There are two schools of thought on human behavior. One is that sports help release aggression in a healthy way, the other is that they simply promote aggression in individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be aggressive. In truth, it completely depends on the individual. For some people, looking at thegradcafe every day, chatting on Reddit, and refreshing result profiles can be legitimately therapeutic. It makes them feel connected and helps the time go by faster. For others, it simply sucks them into a compulsive habit that’s hard to escape and emotionally damaging. Know thyself! If you know that looking at those sites makes you feel worse afterward, DON’T CHECK THOSE SITES. The information you get won’t make you hear back any faster. It won’t increase the likelihood of success. The only reason to do it is if it actually makes you feel better. And no matter who you are, never spend more than 1-2 hours a day browsing application sites and hitting refresh.

  • → Waiting for graduate admissions results to roll in can also be a trying time for your friends and family. In many cases, they won’t know what you’re going through, and won’t understand your anxiety. In other cases, they’ll be more anxious than you and will make waiting even more stressful. If possible find a friend who also applied this year. Try to hang out and grab coffee with them once or twice a week if possible. This way you guys can talk each other’s ears off about all your anxieties and worries without driving everyone else in your life nuts. They should also help keep you grounded in a way that others in your life can’t.

  • It’s likely that you’ll end up interviewing at some point in the next two months. In some cases you’ll have back to back weekend trips out of town to interview/visit campus. Rather than waiting to prepare, try focusing on that now. It’ll save you stress if/when the offers do roll in. At the very worst you’ll have honed your interview skills and learned more about field and academia in general–certainly not a waste of time. In the best case scenario, this extra prep time could mean an acceptance a few weeks from now.

  • → Use thegradcafe’s results page to give yourself an idea of when you’ll hear back. If previous year’s applicants (in your program) don’t start hearing back until mid-February, take a deep breath and let yourself forget about it for awhile. If applicants seem to hear back by mid-January, you know that your torture will be over with soon. If you can’t find any information online, go ahead and email the admissions department. That doesn’t mean hound them, but a quick email asking when you can expect to hear back about results is appropriate. They might not be that helpful, but in a lot of cases they’ll at least give you a ballpark (e.g. “We expect to start sending out acceptances by mid-March”).

Have any additional tips for how to handle the stress of waiting for graduate admissions results? Leave them in the comment section!
By
@
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