Admission Decision Time for Parents
Many seniors have already started receiving decision letters from colleges. More will come over the next few weeks. Here are a few tips for parents as the decisions come in--the good, the bad, and the indifferent.
Congratulations! You have been admitted. . . This is the response we are all hoping and praying to receive. What do you do next?
· Unless your student is a student athlete who will be playing on scholarship or an Early Decision (binding) applicant, there is no requirement to commit to a college until May 1.
· Celebrate the achievement but stay focused on academics. Colleges and universities can rescind offers of admission if a student’s grades take a nosedive late in the senior year.
After careful consideration, your application has been denied. . . This is NOT the response we are all hoping and praying to receive. What do you do next?
· Hug your kid. This can be devastating news for any teenager. Students take college rejection personally and can forget that there is no correlation between gaining admission to college and being a valuable human being. Many of the students who are denied admission to one of their top choice colleges say that the worst part was feeling like they let their parents down.
· Start fresh. Don’t dwell on what might have been. It is time to look forward and recognize that the right college is still out there.
· Ask questions. Let me rephrase that—let your student ask questions! It is perfectly acceptable for a student to contact an admissions office to find out why they were denied admission. This can be a learning experience for the student and often-times make them feel better about the decision. A good admissions officer will recognize the opportunity to help a student deal with this rejection.
· College admissions is not fair. The laws of supply and demand rule and colleges work very hard to “build” a class that is academically stronger, geographically and ethnically more diverse, more athletic and more creative than the year before. Sometimes being denied admission has little to do with the student. It has to do with the fact that there could be 20,000 applications received at a school that can accommodate only 2,000 students in the first-year class.
After careful consideration, your application has been deferred. . . This is the response that more students are receiving every year. What does it mean and what do you do next?
· Being deferred (or waitlisted) means that your student’s application has been neither accepted nor denied. The student’s application does not warrant denial, but it also is not one of the strongest received in a very competitive applicant pool. If there are spaces available in the class after a majority of the applicant pool has been received, colleges and universities will begin pulling students up from the deferred list.
· Communicate, but don’t overdo it! Your student should feel free to contact the admissions office and express his/her level of interest in the school. Any new academic achievement should be shared with the admissions committee—not an “A” on a Calculus quiz, but an increase of an ACT score or a prestigious award.
· Use caution with recommendation letters. Colleges and universities are inundated with recommendations from successful alums who are writing to urge the committee to consider a student because he comes from a “wonderful family” and is a “great kid”. These letters are often-times meaningless and can really do more harm than good. The best advocate for your student is your student!
· Have a back-up plan. Again, the importance of the “safety” school cannot be over-emphasized.