So You're Done With College Applications. What Next?

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New Year’s Day may mean late-night parties and overambitious resolutions for most of us, but for high school seniors, January 1st signifies the end of the college application season — and the beginning of an anxious period of waiting. After months of writing essays and quadruple- checking applications, the most appealing pastime seems to be rewatching Avengers: Infinity War on Netflix, even though it gets more painful every time. So after your binge-watching session, here’s what to do after college applications are over.

1. Do the activities you never had time to do. If that means kayaking in the Delaware River while wearing a tricorn hat to look like George Washington, go right ahead! Go to the movies, bake some brownies, or play an instrument. As someone who just celebrated the last time she had to press the “Submit” button, I have been using my winter break to write, read, and listen to a stress-free holiday playlist.

2. Be creative. Churning out essays about “Why College X?” can seem to really kill the creative spark inside you, but take this time to follow an imaginative pursuit. If you prefer artistic activities, consider doodling, knitting, or making pottery. Try something new, like learning how to edit videos or take artsy photographs. Creating a new product instead of absorbing lots of content on social media and streaming services will make the next few months more fulfilling and enjoyable.

3. Study for those exams! The long road leading to college is not over yet, especially for students taking AP exams for college credit. Get a head start by making study guides, reviewing class material, and watching Khan Academy’s AP video series for preparation. You can even make studying a group activity by catching up with friends while going over your impressively detailed Quizlets.

4. Self-reflect. Completing college applications can place you in a negative, self-doubting mindset, but you can turn that attitude into a positive one by taking a few steps toward clarity. Whether you are doing yoga, meditating, or journaling, taking the time to reflect on your emotions and goals for the future will allow you to focus on the activities that are truly important to you.

5. Spend time with family and friends. While the holiday season is ideal for this, high school seniors tend to hole up and toil over applications instead of reconnecting with relatives. Make an effort to reach out to people whom you haven’t seen in long time. For seniors planning to live on campus in college, this will be your last year living near friends and family, so use this time to have fun with them!


Most importantly, remember to relish every moment of your senior year! The most difficult part of the year is over, and now, you can celebrate the hard work you’ve done over the last few years. Senior year is full of exciting activities: senior barbecues, prom, senior trips, and graduation. You can look forward to not only these activities, but also a new chapter in your life brimming with opportunities.