The College Application Waiting Game and Why It Takes So Long To Hear From Us


The months of December through February are what I like to call the College Admission Application Waiting Game.

“Ooo, a game! Is it a fun game?” No.

“I’m sure it’s something I can learn to love, though. Right?” Probably not.

“Wow, OK. I gotta say, I’m not really looking forward to playing.” I know, I’m sorry.  

It’s a stressful time, waiting to hear from colleges, unsure about where you’ll be in the fall. But there are some techniques you can use to lower the stress during these next few months while you wait to hear decisions from universities and colleges across the country.

I want to share some of those strategies with you in this post.

But first: Why does it take so long to hear a decision?

To applicants it can feel like we’re purposefully withholding decisions to make life miserable. I can assure you, this is not the case. There are some reasons for the delay between when you submit your application and when you hear from Ross.

We’re thorough — We put a lot of thought and care into developing each class of Ross BBA students. We don’t just do a quick skim of your application, see you have a high test score and GPA, and move on. We read your application multiple times to make sure we have a holistic view of who you are, what your goals are, and how you’ll contribute to the Ross community as a whole.

You have to be admitted to U-M before we can review your app — It’s not that we don’t want to get back to you sooner, but we’re the second step in the process. We can’t review your app until the University of Michigan admits you first. The good news is: Once you hear from U-M, you’ll know that your app is on its way to us.

Knowing our process doesn’t necessarily help you survive the wait, though, so here are some of my tips for making the most of these months without stressing out about college applications:


Read some books

If you need a suggestion, our Common Read for the 2017 incoming BBA class was The Vanishing American Corporation by Ross Professor Jerry Davis. And the year before it was The Circle by Dave Eggers. Check them out!


Volunteer in your local community

Many of our applicants have great stories of their time volunteering in the community, so chances are you’re already doing some of this, but waiting for your college admissions decisions is a great time to double down on your volunteer commitments — you’ll forget all about the waiting and you’ll feel great while doing it.


Keep Focused on Your High School Courses

Remember that even after students are admitted to the University of Michigan, we ask for final high school transcripts at the end of senior year. And a bad senior year can lead to a bad first semester in college, and even revocation of admission for the most severe senioritis. Don’t let the senioritis bug bite!


Enroll in Michigan Ross Coursera courses

We have two popular courses that I’m sure you’ll love. Inspiring and Motivating Individuals is taught by our dean, Scott DeRue, and it’s an interesting course about how to lead teams even if you don’t necessarily have authority over them. Could be helpful in group projects.

You might also like the first part of our Introduction to Finance course from Professor Gautam Kaul, a favorite at Ross.


Get really into baking

Hey, why not — it is the holiday season, after all. Your family will thank you.

We know this period can be trying, and waiting to hear isn’t a lot of fun. But, the good news is that our first round of decisions will arrive in early February. And that’s just a few tins of brownies away.