Read the room

Seniors, as your college decisions roll in, it’s natural to want to share the news and how you feel about it. But when you do, please remember to read the room.

Your safety school that you openly dismiss is someone else’s dream school.

Your elation over admission can make someone who got different news feel even worse.

While you’re in despair over the one school that said no, someone else is worried they won’t be able to pay for any college that says yes.

Your hard work may have paid off the way you’d hoped, but someone else’s didn’t.

That student you’re sure did not deserve their admission may have brought something to the committee readers that would make you feel differently.

Of course, your college admissions experience is your own. You get to experience it and react authentically. Nobody can take that away from you.

But with the arrival of decisions, discussions and public sharing of experiences often turn from the process to the results. When you say, post, or otherwise share something, do your best to read the room. Ask yourself if your success or good fortune might make someone else feel worse. Ask yourself if your disappointment might pale when compared to what someone else is experiencing. Ask yourself if the audience with whom you’re sharing can really handle the presentation.

There’s never been a time in the history of college admissions when those going through it have shared and compared so openly. Sometimes it’s nice to have comradery and to know that you’re not going through it alone. But as the results arrive, please remember that there’s no law preventing you from sharing only with the audience closest to you–those who have a sincere interest in your success and won’t be negatively affected by your reactions.

You’ll get the best reception if you read the room.