Early Decision – The College Lottery

Waiting for college acceptance letters can feel a bit like playing the Lottery. Applications are sent in and then students wait to hear if they have been chosen. During the process,  lots of adrenaline pulses through students’ veins. The majority of colleges send out admittance answers in the spring, but there is also Early Admissions in the fall: seniors apply early to the ‘one’ school that they ‘really’ want to attend and they find out in December (3 -4 months before the regular spring letters) if they have been accepted. Many of these schools have very selective admissions processes aka ‘not a lot of space!’  After years of hard work, long hours. endless rehearsals and training sessions, volunteer work and charity walks, and diverse extracurricular endeavors, when a student applies for early admissions – it all comes down to the arrival of one very pressure filled letter.

Hard work sometimes pays off early and sometimes it does not.

For those seniors who are accepted to their dream school, this letter is better than  Charlie’s Wille Wanka Golden Letter deliciously wrapped in a chocolate bar. It is like winning a major state lottery that has ballooned to a ginormous sum and the accepted student has the winning numbers.

Other seniors apply and are deferred or rejected from the college of their dreams. This can be heart breaking for a 17-year-old (and for many of their parents too). At the time, the terrible rejection can be crushing. It is difficult for us parents to see our children not get the acceptance that they have strived for, we believe they deserve and there is nothing we can do to change the outcome.

I write to suggest that this is really okay. Our children will within a few months know where they will attend college in the fall, and this experience will not damage them. I argue that this opportunity will actually be a tremendous learning and strengthening happening that is healthy and profitable.

My daughter a few years back was deferred from the college of her choice. I will never forget the moment she read the letter and learned that she had not been accepted early. She was crushed. I was torn. Had this college not realized how wonderful my daughter was? She had top grades and a long list of accomplishments. I was paralyzed knowing that I could not remedy this and fix it for her! A few months later, the letter of acceptance that she then pined for did arrive and we sweetly celebrated her being accepted to the new and improved college of her dreams.

In six months she will graduate from this college. She is currently enmeshed in studying for her finals. Working her ass off!  She has thrived, grown, challenged herself and thorougjy enjoyed her college experience. I have been the very proud mother enjoying her great accomplishments. The melancholy days that followed her deferral are long forgotten. But I am convinced that her deferal was a character stengthening and building experience. She shows no signs of damage rather fierce signs of human growth.

I salute those fortunate enough to get in early to highly selective colleges. It is exciting and it is an honor. I encourage those whose kids did not fare as well in this lottery to dust themselves off, open their eyes wider and get back on the college saddle.

In the spring, many beautiful flowers will blossom.

NInja Mom

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