The Wait list! Oh dear God as if waiting six months for an answer wasn’t enough now you’re going to torture my son with a wait list option? And he clicked on “accept wait list”.
Oh no! What could be worse? Four wait lists. Yes, that’s right. I said FOUR.
And it’s F***ed. He was qualified to apply, met all of the requirements and wrote strong essays. So why are we in this position? That’s the million dollar question. Yes, I feel badly for him but the attitude has to stop. Anyone else feel this way? The world does not revolve around him. WHAT? Oh dear God, he thought it did and so now we are left consoling the kid who is bright, good looking, an over achiever and disappointed.
What are we to do?
Wait! And then, wait some more.
Because that’s what these colleges expect us to do. Like we have nothing else better to do. The wait list is a college’s safety net and they will release students from the list when they are good and ready. It’s also not likely wait list student will receive any merit awards.
Define fair. This isn’t it.
The Washington Post listed their most recent data regarding Wait List and it ain’t pretty. 100 Selective Colleges and their Wait List data. So what do we tell our grumpy seniors who are angry and frustrated and taking it out on dear ole’ mom?
I know I would never tell my kid to wait for anything else. No girl, no boy, no job…nothing is worth the wait. If they don’t want you, move on. But in this case, we will sit patiently and wait.
“Waitlists allow colleges to target acceptance letters to students likely to attend to maintain the college’s selectivity ranking and yield.” Wikipedia
It wasn’t suppose to happen this way. My son has been working hard for the last four years doing everything he was suppose to. A multi-sport athlete, student council, 4.2 GPA, every honors class offered at his school, part-time job, community volunteer, leader in his school, team captain…shall I go on?
All he’s talked about for the last four years was attending his first choice university. We’ve encouraged him because why not? Even with a ridiculous price tag and no opportunity for financial aid, we still encouraged him. We saved all of his life so he could attend any university he could get into. Yes, any university. We are not wealthy people but education is at the top of our priority list and our children have excelled in every aspect of the word.
So how did we get here? I can’t remember. Oh yes! All hell broke loose on March 28, 2017 when he opened his portal to find a rejection letter from the dream school. The dream school was not a reach and it was very realistic and yet, the rejection was plain as day. They don’t want him. My reaction was like any mother’s trying to console her devastated child. “It’s their lose” I said. Feeling a little bit relieved because this, although a selective school, I’ve been on campus several times only to witness first hand the parties, the vomit flying into the trash can as the beautiful yet almost naked girl holds it tight to her chest. I’ve seen the coolers being carried onto campus and set under the canopy in the quad next to the beer pong tables and the music blasting all the while campus security is watching. And yet, we allowed him to apply because it seemed like the right academic fit and he would certainly not allow himself to get wrapped up in the party scene. Ya right! Our kids know that although we have saved for their education they get four years to get it done and that’s it. They know C’s won’t get them a job and our expectation is a job at the end of four years and few internships leading up to the end. No more kicking back during summer break. Get ready, life happens and it’s happening.
So why the attitude? Ungrateful. Entitled. Selfish. So what if they didn’t accept you. Are you really going to allow that to destroy you and everything you have worked so hard for leading up to college? Give me a break. No school is worth that. If they don’t want you do you really want them? Lick your wounds and move on my friend because opportunity only knocks once and I hear it ringing at three other colleges that you loved. They love you and are offering you the opportunity to join them and they’re footing the bill. Well not all of it, but a portion of it is better than nothing at your dream school.
So why is it that rejection kills us? It doesn’t have to be this way. Mourn your loss and move on. Don’t let it destroy you or your hard work. Stand proud and be excited for what is right in front of you. Be grateful to those who have loved and supported you. Look beyond the moment and try to get a glimpse of your future and what awaits. This isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last time you’ve been disappointed. I know it hurts but be the bigger and better person. College won’t define you, you will define the college. Take the “I’ll show you” attitude. When you’re able to make a sizable donation to your Alma Mater, kiss that check and tell the dream school to shove it where the light doesn’t shine. Make something of yourself and become the person your parents taught you to be. Don’t be “that” guy who turns his back on those who love you. Be “the” guy who makes a difference. You want to make the world a better place. Now go out and do it.
Today is the day. I’ve been waiting for the day that I am pushed over the edge. I’m there. On the outside, I appear put together, a loving wife and mother, and the do everything kind of person. Well, I’m officially broken. Why you ask? College admissions. If ever there was a more depressing time in my life it is now. The admissions process is a game. Sadly, not just a game our kids are playing but parents are forced to play too. I read article after article on college admissions and as a former admissions professional, I can tell you there isn’t anything like the game we play today. It is definitely a game and most of us didn’t choose to play but we were sucked right into it. Our kids do everything right. They set their eyes on a goal and do everything right hoping to land the big prize. The prize of course being an admissions letter welcoming them to “the” university. Do admissions reps know what happens after a student receives the denial? Let’s face it, denied is just a nicer way of saying rejected. It’s not the end of the world. Or is it?
There are key facts about the college admissions process. Some may see it as true and others as post rejection frustration and I’ll admit, it’s a little of both.
It is indeed a game and your opponent is likely some under thirty wanna be who holds the future of your family in his hands. He isn’t working at his Alma mater but somehow managed to get hired and entrusted with the responsibility of reviewing applications he himself couldn’t prepare and is now making another person’s life a living hell during the waiting process.
Admissions counselors are not completely honest. They are told to encourage every student to apply even if that student is not qualified because it will increase the University admissions stats (we can thank US New & World Report for that). Some applicants are just another way for the university to improve their acceptance rate.
The truth is the ever important essay will not be read if the applicant doesn’t pass the numbers test. Applicants will be told about the “holistic” approach and encourage students to write about their personal experiences but the truth is, if the applicants SAT/ACT score and GPA are not up to par, the essay won’t ever get looked at. So if you’re border line, that’s when the essay will make it or break it for you and the application goes into the “read” pile. The applicant who makes it past the “numbers review” and placed in the “read” pile will only stand a chance if they are in the upper echelon of applications. Colleges are denying wonderfully qualified students. Unfortunately, too many students are applying to too many colleges they have no intention of attending (we can thank the Common App for that). Colleges have no way of knowing what the applicants #1 school is and therefore, must gamble and hope they are selecting the student who will enroll. The truth its, high school counselors must do a better job and limit the number of applications from their schools. If a student can’t afford College A ($70k per year) he shouldn’t be applying to College A. The truth is, College A offers a very limited number of merit awards and those go to the Top 3% of applicants. So let the Valedictorians apply, otherwise cough up the dough or don’t apply. Those applicants are taking a spot away from a student who meets the admission criteria and has the money to pay in full. This is true for many schools. Students should be limited to six applications and they should be required to rank their selections. Period!
Suck up to your admissions representative. Yes, SUCK UP! Don’t send gifts because ethically the representative shouldn’t accept them but do send emails and ask lots of questions. Attend every high school visit and stop by and say hello when you’re on campus. Make sure your admissions rep knows you and your name. Why you ask? That person may actually go to bat for you during the admission review phase because you are well liked. Even if you have the highest scores and are graduating top in your class you may need a little love during the screening process. Don’t take things for granted. Now a days, there are no “safety schools”. Just when you thought you were safe, the rejection arrives in the mail and if your safety school happens to win a National Championship, you better believe it’s position as a safety school just jumped up 10 notches.
A true sign “is this school right for you” will be shown through the actions of the representative visiting your school or delivering the admissions presentation. Maybe you’ve attended EVERY presentation that rep has given for the last three years, visited campus every summer since sophomore year and you think your “buddy” the admission rep feels the same way about you. Then the test…he shakes your hand at the admissions presentation in the fall of your senior year and says, “it’s nice to meet you”. Are you kidding me? Do your job Admissions Rep and at least pretend you know your students who have shown interest in you for the past three years. Pretend you know their name. Pretend you’re interested.
Here’s some free advise for every Admissions Officer out there. It’s easy. Print a list from your handy database and read it before you arrive. Take a look at who has signed up to meet you, who has visited your esteem campus and who have you met with during your high school visits. It’s elementary my friend. All admissions reps should know this but some just don’t care because they have forgotten what it feels like to be on the other end of the application. Some schools are just so snobby it leaves me wondering, is this our future? Well yes, it is. We talk about entitlement and this is it. We blame the youth but these reps are the youth. God help us all!
You’re invited to join the party and post your comments about the process. The process called Life. We GIVE and some take. We give more and some take more. Bottom line we’re just trying to do our job. The job is called parenting. Some insult us by calling us helicopters when really it should be called loving. Others want us to let them fail and pick themselves up. Well what’s the right way to do that? Let’s talk. Someone is always listening. Feel free to post or just read. I’m here for you if you want to talk.