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Admissions decisions: Things I wish I knew

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MARCH 24, 2023

If you’re a high school senior, the end of March can be an anxiety-inducing time, whether that means constantly checking a college’s admissions page on Instagram, refreshing your emails or physically opening letters. I know that’s how I felt a year ago when I was in the same shoes. 

Now, looking back, I wish I could’ve told myself some things I would’ve really valued listening to at the time. In case you’re feeling some type of way about those college admission decisions, I’m here to give you some advice. 

1. The cheesy saying “Eventually you’ll end up where you need to be” is true

As much as it pains me to say it, I realize now just how true that saying is. When I was first applying to universities and imagining myself in these places, I never once pictured myself here at UC Berkeley. At the time, I had my sights set on other universities and already began picturing my life elsewhere. It wasn’t until I got rejected that reality began to set in. I felt like a failure, even though I had people around me assure me I wasn’t. It hurts to have the dream you imagined crack into a thousand little pieces in front of you. But know that looking back, I realize just how unhappy I would’ve been if those schools accepted me. It may feel like a loss right now but it’s actually a blessing in disguise. It just wasn’t meant to be. Something meant specifically for you is waiting!

2. Go visit! 

I didn’t realize how important this was until I took a trip to the East Coast. I’d built up this idea of what this college was like through the informational sessions I attended and deep dives on Quora and YouTube only to find out that I was severely wrong. When I went to visit the university in person, I realized how misplaced I felt — almost like a puzzle piece that realized it was in the wrong puzzle entirely. Visiting colleges can help immensely when you’re on the fence about a few schools, so I highly suggest that if you have the means, you go visit!

3. Trust your gut 

When the time came to make a decision, above all, I trusted my gut. Make the decision that you feel in your heart to be the right one. Don’t listen to everybody else’s opinions and remarks. They’re not the ones actually going to college. It can be confusing having different voices tell you different things. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and place for outside input but always take those remarks with a grain of salt. You know what’s best for you, so trust yourself. And if people aren’t happy with your final decision, they can go cry about it. Be sure in your decision making — you got this!

I hope this was at least a tad bit helpful! Make sure to breathe and take a second to appreciate the moment. You’re so close to being done. And to all my future Bears, welcome to UC Berkeley!

Contact Heidy Paniagua at 


MARCH 24, 2023