young woman warming herself with a cup of tea

Waiting on college decisions? Here’s why you shouldn’t stress.

You’ve spent months sending out transcripts, securing letters of recommendation, paying random fees, writing about who you are in 400 words or less, filling out personal information in annoying online forms, and stressing about your future. Now what?

Maybe you’re all jazzed up from applying. Or maybe you’re all frazzled that someone you know already got accepted somewhere (that darn Hannah always has everything figured out). Either way, you want answers now.

Should you call your admissions counselor every day and ask about your application status? Should you start drafting more college essays for the heck of it? 

No, you fools! The best thing to do right now is relax.

closeup of student's shoes while they go for a walk

“But I skipped Stu’s Senior Zoom Bash so I could finish this stinking application on time, and now you’re telling me to forget about it?”

We get it. The last thing you want to hear is that you need to wait, but for now, that’s all you can do. Take a breath and let it go, because it’s out of your hands. 

This in-between time doesn’t have to be miserable. Go for a walk, turn on your favorite movie, dress up like a cowboy. Do whatever you like to do when you’re being you. If you understood that last sentence, you’re well on your way to success already.

large Psychic Vision sign

“This is all well and fine,” you might be saying, “but I need to know if I’m going to have a school to go to next year!”

Again, relax. You’re scared because you don’t know where you’re going to be spending the next few years of your life. The thing is, though, nobody does. Unless you’re a really, really, really good fortune teller, you’re never going to know for sure what your future holds. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that.

This isn’t something to get down about when it comes to college plans, where you can always change your major or transfer to a new school if things don’t work out. Focus on today. 

“You’re just spitting out cheesy positivity and annoying aphorisms! How the heck am I supposed to ‘relax’ about college decisions? This is serious stuff, not bologna!”

First of all, bologna is the most serious of all meats. And second of all, if you’re this concerned, let’s dare to think ahead. What’s the worst that can happen when you hear back about college decisions? That you won’t get accepted into any of them? In that highly unlikely scenario, you’d work it out. You could get a job and apply again for the next semester. Or you could start off at a community college and then transfer to a larger institution to finish up your bachelor’s degree.

Getting rejected from the college of your dreams might throw a wrench in your plans, but when you look at the big picture, it’s just a hiccup (or at most, a very painful stubbed toe). There are infinite roads to happiness. You will find a way. After all, you’ve made it through all those college applications. That means you have perseverance and self-discipline, and above all, moxie. Remember that going forward, and be proud of it. 

people walking in a hedge maze

Whatever happens—and we mean this when we say it, so pay attention—whatever happens, you will make it in the end. Even if the way you get there is a little different than you imagined, you’ll get there.


We can’t tell you to simply not be stressed, but we can explain why you shouldn’t be. Where you go to college isn’t the be-all and end-all of your life. You don’t need to be anxious right now, because your application is out of your hands; it was the moment you hit “submit.” Try to enjoy this in-between time. Waiting for college decisions is hard, but you can make it fun.

Remember, right now you’re a senior, which means you are by definition cool. Enjoy your last few months, and finish strong, healthy, and happy.

UIUC Admissions

UIUC Admissions

We're here for you as you prepare for college. Whether you're looking for guidance on the college search process or have questions about Illinois, we hope our blogs will help!

214 comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • This actually makes me stress out even more about wether I got accepted or not. Haha…. :I

  • This was amazing, I really needed to hear that 🙂 Keep doing things like this to support people because I’m telling you, it really does have an impact on us.
    You guys are the coolest

  • I will not feel any stress any more after receiving this letter. I believe that UIUC is a very excellent University because it is the Only one that tells students not to feel stress. Thanks for a lot.

  • Awesome article! Really said what I felt and the last paragraph is literally what I need to hear right now. ?❤️It’s so nice for UIUC to send out this message at such a stressful time. Appreciate it and thank you 🙂

  • Hands down, best piece of advice for seniors out there. Can’t wait (but will wait, relaxed) for UIUC decisions. 🙂

  • This relieved my stress as the results will be soon released..! I will be patiently waiting for them and relaxing for now:) Thank you?

  • Nothing make me feel better than this ♥️ Thank you for your concern towards us ✨

  • At the beginning of this article I was thinking, yes they are crazy my heart is racing right now but once I got to the end, they are right. If I don’t get in, I will apply next semester or the semester after that because I refuse to give up on going to UIUC! If I get stressed again I will go back and read this article until I calm down again.

  • True,all we can do is wait…so why don’t we just relx,take a break.. don’t be so frustrated~whereever you get in you are mean to be there. Thank you so much!that was really helpful!

  • This post does a really good job of calming a stressed out senior. Very true and funny at the same time. Thanks for the great advice UIUC.

  • That is really really reassuring to me. In fact, I am looking forward to embrace whatever decision; for I have done all I can do, and the rest is determined by god. I can feel no stress or anxiety at all!

  • Read a lot of time and really helpful! My parents also told me similar things too. Love UIUC

  • I was really stressing about the decision coming out on December 13th for early action, one of my first decisions I’m going to get, but thanks to this article I guess I won’t stress out about my decision too much.

  • Thanks for the vote of confidence UIUC. This is what separates you from other less involved colleges.??

  • This blog is really HELPFUL!!! I almost stressed out these days. THANK U SO MUCH! Just CAN’T wait for UIUC decision, hope I can get in.

  • you know what, I would be relaxing if I hadn’t chose IB and have a ton of IAs and EEs and CAS dragging me into hell right now

  • Given that Early Action results come out tomorrow, this was the perfect time to read such an article and calm my nerves. Thanks UIUC for making sure that all students are stress-free and relaxed for a few moments.

  • Good perspective. However, what is the precise reason that Illinois is not keeping pace with essentially every other major educational system in the country with admittance? Never really heard why waiting is better than knowing? What’s the challenge, or advantage to the Illinois system being nearly the last one to the party?

  • Thanks for reaching out, Rob. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university suspended its early action admission notification this year. All new freshman applicants will be notified of their admission status in mid-February. This single notification date allows applicants additional time to potentially test or retest, as ACT and SAT exams were canceled throughout the spring and summer, and for us to provide a thorough holistic review. We hope this helps! If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to email us or call us at 217-333-0302.

  • That’s really cool and I will handle my stuffs in a positive but relaxing way. Thanks a lot

  • Owo! Really nice and well crafted advice in form of sequential stress relaxing doses for queries ! Good initiative 👍. Certainly and eagerly waiting for decision communication

  • This was really helpful for easing my mind! My nerves are definitely really high right now, but it’s relaxing to hear that I’ve done everything I can do. Thanks for continuing to reach out, UIUC!

  • Yep, I think so. Future cannot be controlled totally on my hand. But I can adjust my mindness!

  • Thank You! I appreciate the advice, I was really stressing about the UIUC Admissions but now I will be more relaxed.

  • Just earlier today, I was just had negative feeling inside me. I felt that nothing could have fixed the problem because not many know. But this! This message is blessing. I like to thank this article for helping me. Very helpful!

  • Storytelling is an art and this article is perfect example to convey simple but meaningful message to all of us. It means a lot to know you care and makes me believe in UIUC.

  • My son is waiting for his acceptance/denial, and I received this email and it makes me think of my my college friends writing this email. We all shared a house at U of I on 2nd and John, and I found your example of dressing up like a cowboy and bologna, to bring me right back to that time – my friends could’ve easily written this blog post. Thanks, really enjoyed it and couldn’t agree more. Whatever happens will happen, and you’ll be you and you’ll be great!

  • Thanks, a good message many of us have several other acceptances already but waiting to hear from the ILLINI.

  • I was stressing out, but never said anything to anyone about it. Thank you for thinking about us too. It really helps to know that it’s not just me, who thinks these things. Thank you 🙂

  • We have applied to several other schools and have heard back from them early and because your process takes so long you are in jeopardy of losing us, get it together UofI!

  • I’m so glad I read this! Waiting for admission results is a little bit stressful but I hope for the best. Thank you UIUC for providing blogs for not just your students, but applicants as well!

  • Thank you UIUC for sending out this message at this moment before the decisions come out! It means so much to us seniors 😀

  • Thank you for considering our feelings! Hopefully I get an acceptance from UIUC in February! The wait is so hard but I am trying my best to be patient.

  • Thank you so much! After reading the other comments, I agree that your timing was on point, and your kind words are much appreciated!

  • The only reason I am stressed is because this is my DREAM SCHOOL! I hope I don’t get my toe stubbed.

  • Really appreciate it, we as a parent also needs this kind of assurance and advice at this point of time. Thank you and good luck to all Illinois applicants.

  • Wow, great post UIUC ! The Illinois admissions team definitely wins the major college award for most creative and entertaining communications. I really needed this boost – Thx!!

  • Thank you (: That was comforting and I appreciated the advice! A very engaging read and as I scrolled through I definitely felt a lot less stressed than when I began. hopefully (if it is what’s best) I’ll be a future #ILLINI !
    Here is a huge organization that I always support, for anyone interested…

  • Thank you so much for being considerate and taking the time to write this beautiful piece. Made me feel less stressed instantly 🙂

  • I initially freaked out a bit to see UIUC in my email inbox, but it turned out for the best. Thank you so much UIUC for this helpful and much-needed blog post! You guys are amazing!

  • Thank you so much for this amazing post! What you all mentioned is really important to all seniors like me. I really appreciate it so much and thanks again UIUC🧡

  • Thank you for the positivity. It’s been a stressful few months. This will definitely remedy the stress.

  • Be that as it may, it’s great to have a community that likes to unite during these trying times. Great advice from a great university, proud to call myself an Illinoisian. Very hopeful to be a part of this great community next year!

  • Wow, that’s so helpful. And UIUC is the only one I heard about this, and especially UIUC is my dream college, too. So appreciate this. Thank you!!!

  • Thank you for the upbeat update! We will be looking forward to hearing from you again in the near future.

  • Worry will change neither the effort I mad nor the results I will receive. peace out🙌

  • Thanks you! I Iike that sentence in the article:“whatever happens, you will make it in the end. ”

  • Thank you so much for all this “cheesy positivity”!! It really makes a lot of difference! If I get stressed again about my college decisions, I’m coming back to this article!

  • This is an interesting perspective on the admissions processes and common misconceptions about “what prospective students should be doing” during this period of our lives. I think that while we should manage our stress, it is still important to plan for the worst-case scenario. In any case, this article was an interesting read.

  • I’m going to be honest. While the article is nice and somewhat motivational, the mail/emails i get from the colleges that provide no intel on my admission decisions stress me out the most. I think that maybe I’ll get an answer but I just get a coloring book or inspirational messages. I understand this could be helpful to some, but it is definitely not for me.

  • I love UIUC!! I don’t know any other school that guides us in the way they do. Takes time out to tell us we have nothing to worry about, and provides us coloring sheets. I appreciate this article.

  • Actually most kids aren’t stressed about hearing decisions from other schools. Almost every school has already responded by now. U of I is one of the last.

  • Well, this article and the email I got yesterday from Gies were the best ones I ever got from any college during this stressful period. Very well thought and put… Thanks for the empathy and for the effort to ease the nerve-wracking pressure!

  • Just what I needed to read now.We need to relax and enjoy our last few months in highschool than think about things beyond our control.

  • This is amazing at how this University continues to uplift us even in the most uncertain of times. Keep it up with the memes, and the really great advice!

  • I’m really glad I read this article! Really appreciate UIUC for caring about its prospective students.

  • Ok you send out emails to say not to stress if they get in. But did he get into your school like seriously how can you send this to kids but yet you don’t let them know if they got in!!!

  • I believe that, in the gallery of life, there is a gate bound to for, as well as to fit me, and it’s surely awaiting for my approach and then unlocking it.

  • I’ve been stressing out so bad about college applications for so long. Reading this felt like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t know how much I needed to read this until now. Thank you so much!

  • Thank you for your considerate advice. UIUC Admission team is AWESOME! Good luck to all class of 2026.

  • I loved the subtle humor of the post. And of course, it’s very helpful for many of us. Thank you admissions 🙂

  • “Should you start drafting more college essays for the heck of it?”

    Hahaha Do people write college essays for fun?

  • I hope this will be helpful to reduce my pressure a bit, but it will not go away until UIUC’s admission!

  • This was a great and truly helpful article! I love the message of just living in the moment. Sometimes we get so caught up about our future instead of realizing that we have another great day in front of us to enjoy.

  • Here is why this is absolutely not helpful…and funny that it is coming from University of Illinois. (Since it is one of the latest to provide a response – and THE latest for those to which my son applied).

    What you are not mentioning is that while everyone is on pins and needles for a U of I response, other colleges are moving forward.

    This includes picking roommates and dorms for the freshman year.
    Several years ago, my daughter DIDN’T stress, waited for all responses, and guess what, didn’t get into the dorm she wanted (with others of her major). Of course, everything worked out and she loves her college, but what a better way to stress a freshman out then to start off their college years with less students of similar interests near by.
    My son is not willing to accept the same fate. U of I was one of his first choices and loved the tour he did with an old high school friend. However, he is choosing another college because he isn’t willing to wait and take the risk, especially if he isn’t even accepted. I mean, this is pretty arrogant to even post, really. Just sitting back and waiting for the ‘best’ applications to come in (many from other countries), while those that help fund the school with state taxes wait patiently at home – many of which won’t even be accepted.

    Additionally, which I know you have no control over, but man, U of I is super expensive for in-state tuition. Compared to other top-level universities, we are a disaster….almost as much as out of state tuition to other colleges that actually offer scholarships. Sucks to loose in-state talent.

  • Awesome article, really fun and easy to read. Thank you UIUC!!! I really felt better now, helpful indeed!

  • Thanks! Much Needed for this anxious parent.
    In response to Tony, who posted today, be grateful that your son has an option to choose that quickly. When you have a music major student, the application process has only just begun! UIUC actually offers early auditions/applications and still will let us know in February. February is the earliest of any of the schools we applied to! Try having every weekend booked in January & February with auditions and not knowing if your child gets accepted to the school and the music school (double application process for music students!) until April! Be grateful that your son has a plethora of schools to choose from.
    I am grateful for these fun blogs and any school that my child can get into twice – not just the university but also the music school after auditioning and sending in prescreens!

  • It was an article that made my anxious mind comfortable. Thank you and I hope everyone has a happy new year.

  • This was really well said and really well timed. However, it only makes me more eager for my UIUC decision. 🙂

  • I don’t feel this is at all helpful. The other universities that my son applied to have already responded with acceptance and scholarship money. They’re also starting the process of dorm choice. If you wait to here from U of I and either don’t get in or don’t receive the scholarships you need – then you risk choices at your other schools. My son is not willing to risk missing out on scholarship money or the chance to get the dorm of his choice. U of I is losing talented students to other colleges that provide feedback early.

  • A very very nicely worded meaningful communication to youngsters. Highly needed and aptly sent, appreciate.

  • You have no idea how much I needed that email. Thank you so much! I know it’s just auto generated but it still pulled me back into reality so thank you again.

  • Thank you to UIUC Admissions for making this post! It made me realize just how stressed I was in the past few weeks. I will for sure try my best to enjoy life and relax. 😀

  • It’s so kind for UIUC to send this thoughtful message which make me feel warm in this time. Thank you♥️ ♥️ ♥️ and hope I can get in UIUC.

  • Thanks for this amazing letter. It really relieves my stress and let me look outside the campaign of admission. It’s kind for UIUC to send out this message at this moment.