It’s the season… for acceptances, rejections, deferrals and emotions.
Last year was my season, or rather my daughter’s season. She applied Early Decision to her dream school. She worked tirelessly in high school, taking a rigorous schedule while balancing outside activities and commitments. It was all there in her application, the years of hard work compressed into just few pages of hope.
She was qualified. But so were so many others. The numbers were clear – acceptance rates were on the decline.
A week before the decisions were announced, my daughter received an email from the University detailing the date and time that her Early Decision (ED) would be released online. When that date arrived, we did what has become strangely common… we gathered closely around our computer, while my younger daughter sat patiently waiting to record what we hoped would be one of our happiest moments.
We were lucky. That moment came.
It was everything we had dreamed. Our family of four screamed and danced in a circle. We were out of our minds with excitement. My daughter posted… so did I (with reservations, but I just couldn’t help myself.) The calls came in, family and friends stopped by our house with cakes and apparel. Clearly, they had prepared for a yes.
That was last December. For those of you who are waiting with fingers and toes crossed, here are some thoughts:
- Record it. I know this is controversial and some who are superstitions would say absolutely not. As for me, I love that video and still watch it sometimes when I am missing my college daughter or just want to look back on a really happy time. *Disregard #1 if your child wants to view their college decision in private. This is their moment, let them call the shots.
- Stash some small celebratory items in case of good news. The school colors were red and white so I had sparkling rose and red plastic champagne flutes hidden in my dining room. Again, not for the superstitious.
- Do the research. Find out which hotels are most convenient for move-in and parents’ weekend. Once your child knows where they are going to school, don’t wait – make your reservations. It sounds crazy, but these go fast!
- Make sure all the players are there. Good or bad news, it’s a time when you need each other.
- If it’s a yes, rejoice and then reread. An acceptance can sometimes come with an unexpected twist. Although not common, some schools offer spring or sophomore admission. I have even heard of students being admitted to the wrong major or campus within a large school.
- A deferral is not always a no. A friend of ours had a daughter who applied early action (similar to early decision, but not binding) to a different school. She was deferred and initially felt defeated. But her daughter didn’t give up and contacted the school to re-enforce her commitment. She was admitted in the spring.
- When one door closes, another one opens. Cliche – yes, but true. Many students who are well qualified do not make the cut, sometimes unfairly. These kids find their way, often with a better fitting result.
The college acceptance process is a roller coaster.
Some students ride the ride well into the spring, others come to a halt before December break. Prepare and just be there for your child. If your child does not get the answer they are hoping for this season, know that they too will have their moment. Senior year is a defining, very special time. A lot of firsts and a lot of lasts. Take it all in and embrace the bumps.
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Julie Klein is a freelance writer in New Jersey. Her professional experience includes producing and writing at Fox News Channel and CBS News in New York City. She graduated with a BA in English from the University of Michigan.