I Submitted My Application, Now What? Here Are Twenty Tips!


College student, Julius
Julius Wade Class of '20
Authored on November 14, 2019


Earlier this month, thousands of students around the world hit “SUBMIT” and sealed away their applications to Harvard!

Next month, thousands of emails will notify people that their decisions will be ready to view! But in the meantime, the wait can be painfully anxiety-inducing, boring, and slow...so what are you to do? Here are twenty ways to take your mind off the application:

  1. Visit the Library and Pick Out a New Novel! Stop by your school or local library when you have a spare weekend afternoon, or even after school, and choose a novel by a famous author you've never read. Get ahead of the literature game and dig into a good book!

  2. Start a Daily Journal! Journaling is a great way to document your life and feelings, especially in this stressful process. Choose just 15 or so minutes during your day to sit and write about your day, your worries, or literally anything!

  3. Write Some Poetry! Poetry is another amazing way of representing your thoughts or observations. Pick up a pad and set your artistic self free - poetry is what you make of it, so just be honest and let yourself go! You might surprise yourself in the process. 

  4. Download a Language Learning App and Start Learning a New Language! If you have a smartphone, visit your app store and find one of the many great language learning apps. Start a light, daily program and start practicing new words and phrases, in a month you'll be a novice! 

  5. Work Out! If you don't already, this can be an ideal time to start exercising! Exercise is proven to help reduce stress and increase focus and concentration, so why not take just 20 or so minutes each day to do light warm-ups/exercises that will help your body, as well as, your mind!

  6. Explore Your Town or City! Sometimes you'll discover places you never imagined in your own "backyard"! Take a weekend afternoon to check out some places in your hometown that you've never had the chance to visit. Pretend you're a tourist and see your city in a new way - bring a friend along!

  7. Begin a Meditation Routine! Meditation is another proven way to reduce stress and help with concentration. YouTube has tons of amazing meditation routines/exercises, so start there and take a little bit out of your day for this important self-care!

  8. Discover the Art of Organizing! Marie Kondo made the minimalist approach to organizing and cleaning popular with her hit Netflix show. Follow her lead and take a weekend to reimagine your room/living space: sort your clothes, arrange your books/etc, throw away old things! There are plenty of how-to guides for organization/cleaning online if you want to spice up what might be a mundane task!

  9. Learn to Cook! Cooking is an essential skill for surviving once you leave home. Why not get a headstart and begin the process of learning while you have time! The internet is an amazing starting place for finding easy-to-make recipes using things you might already have at home! Dinner (or a snack) made by you just might be a welcome family surprise!

  10. Write a Letter to Yourself! Take a spare piece of paper and write a letter to your future self about what you want to achieve and how you want to be different. At the end of senior year, read it for the first time! This is a really powerful way of tracking your growth!

  11. Listen to a Podcast! Podcasts are some of the best ways to learn cool things about the world. Search online, or visit your smartphone's podcast app and choose a popular podcast and see if you like it! Find a podcast on a topic you've always been interested in, and go from there!

  12. Find a New TV Show! We're living in the Golden Age of Television. There are thousands of shows online and on streaming services that are waiting to be watched! Find a popular sho you've never seen, or something with a story that might be interesting to you and give it a shot!

  13. Stage a Photoshoot! Find a group of your closest friends and stage a fun, mini photoshoot during lunch, or at a park on the weekend! You'll make lasting memories and have some great Insta-ready material!

  14. Make a Vision Board! Vision boards are fantastic ways of identifying what your goals are and how might get there. Find a few magazines and spend an hour or so flipping through them and cutting out photos that represent what you want out of your future. Pin them to a larger sheet and voila! There are tons of guides online to creating awesome vision boards!

  15. Download an Audiobook! If you don't have time to take on the commitment of reading a book, audiobooks are great alternatives. They're literally all of your favorite books read by someone else! Find one you like, start it up, and listen to while you go about your day or do homework!

  16. Put together a Time Capsule! Another fun activity that pays off with time is creating a time capsule! Use an old shoebox as your "capsule" and put items/objects that represent who you are and what you love. This period is one of deep reflection and this is a perfect way to do that! After a couple of years (maybe after you graduate college) find your old time capsule and surprise yourself with how different you might be then from where you are now!

  17. Try a Coloring App! Worried that coloring books are for kids? Well, even though that's not true, coloring apps are awesome "adult" ways of de-stressing and reconnecting to the simple act of filling in colors! If you have a smartphone, find an awesome, free coloring app and get coloring!

  18. Clean Your Shoes and Phone Case! Bet you haven't cleaned your shoes or phone case in probably ever. Find an old cloth and use a bit of water/alcohol to scrub them anew!

  19. Apply for a Scholarship! While Harvard does not offer traditional, merit-based scholarships, there are thousands of them online waiting for you to apply! This month is the perfect time to create an account on one of the many scholarship database websites and to spend a weekend finding ones that might fit your profile! Use some spare time to apply and rake in all the cash!

  20. Enjoy Senior Year! There is no time as special as senior year of high school. In several months, your life will change and you'll enter adulthood! Slow down and enjoy the company of your schoolmates, close friends, family, teachers, and all the people during this year that you might not see for a while after you graduate!

Give these tips a try! If you applied to Harvard's Early Action program a couple weeks ago, or are planning to apply to Harvard's Regular Decision program by January 1, I hope these tips are helpful in the long wait for decisions. Check out this guide on what to expect after you apply for detailed info on what happens on Harvard’s end, and visit our application timeline for more info. Congratulations - you’re almost there!


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Julius Wade Class of '20

Hi! My name is Julius Wade and I am a senior pursuing a joint concentration in History and Literature and Theater, Dance, and Media here at the College!

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College student, Julius