A Letter of Motivation to High School Seniors in Waiting

Author: Randi McQueen

Congratulations! The deadline for most Regular Decision college applications has passed, and you can finally breathe a breath of fresh air once again. The worst is over, and you have done everything you possibly could to get into the college of your choice. Treat yourself, because you deserve it!

Just a few years ago, I was in your position. I applied to 8 colleges from Los Angeles to Boston and everywhere in between, and I honestly had no idea where I really wanted to go. In my mind, the four years of sleepless nights, countless SAT study sessions, long days of summer school, hours of sports practices, and striving for perfection every single day were either going to pay off if I got into a prestigious school or they would all go to waste. I was proud of my accomplishments in high school, but I knew nothing was guaranteed in the world of college admissions.


Looking back now, my mindset was completely skewed. The fact that I honestly believed my hard work and dedication would go to “waste” if I didn’t get accepted to every school I applied to was a naive way of thinking. Creating goals, planning steps to achieve those goals, working hard, and having the tenacity to try again and again after failing builds character and prepares you for college and the real world. The college admissions process is designed to be as holistic as possible, but there are too many applicants with perfect test scores and flawless GPA’s and too few seats in the classroom. Just because you may not be admitted to Notre Dame or another university definitely does not mean that you are a failure or your efforts in high school were made in vain.

For now, relax and enjoy your last few months of high school. Enjoy the little things, like your school cafeteria’s freshly made cookies or laughing at yourself when you forget to zip your backpack up and your best friend has to break the embarrassing news. These are the things you will miss the most, so please take advantage of them while you can. I regret getting too caught up in the stress and anxiety of the college admissions process to enjoy some of these special times in high school. I was so excited for a new adventure that I couldn’t live in the present.

College is a beautiful time of endless opportunities, learning experiences, trying and failing, and meeting incredible people from across the world. No, it’s certainly not easy, and you will be faced with many new challenges, but the rewards are worth the struggle. For me, it has been the best three years of my life so far! Whatever you do, don’t wish away your last months of high school though.

I know that some of you have been working your entire life for an acceptance letter to Notre Dame or another university. Maybe you grew up in a Notre Dame family or maybe you are eager to begin your own legacy. Whatever the case may be, it will all be ok. Remember, you are more than a test score or an application. You are a unique individual with talent who has strived for greatness in one way or another. Be proud of yourself and all you have already accomplished. If you aren't admitted to Notre Dame or any other school, please don’t think your future is ruined.


There is a college out there for everyone. Wherever you end up, you can still achieve incredible things, make awesome new friends, and begin an amazing career in whatever you are passionate about. Only you are in charge of your future, not a panel of college admissions officers, as difficult as that may be to accept. Choose to be tenacious, learn from your failures, and continue to grow into the best version of yourself because life doesn’t get any easier, even if you do get in to your dream school.

When the letters are finally released, please feel free to reach out to me, or any of the other student bloggers if you have any questions about Notre Dame. Choosing a college isn’t always an easy decision, and we want you to choose the school which best fits you. Don’t be shy!