I remember back in the day, we would come home from school and be greeted by a thin or thick envelope from a university. We knew that the thin envelope meant a denial, the thick meant acceptance. Things have certainly changed. Just ask your parents! Or, maybe your grandparents!
As decisions for Early Decision/Early Action start to come in, I urge you as parents and students (and if you are an admissions officer-please don’t send emails and offers or denials until late in the day) to ask your student to open their email at home. Don’t open these emails at school. I can’t think of anything worse than to spend the day knowing you have been denied and having to function through the day. Even if accepted or deferred (which is ‘neutral’ news at best), functioning through the day… Well, not a great way to focus. And, since this is final exam time for most, students need to function and focus.
Writing applications is a journey of self reflection and a job in and of itself. Opening Early Decision/Early Action emails is an immensely private time. Students have worked hard on this. We all hope for the best. While we can say this is not the end of the world and we know you, as students will land where you need to be, you have the right, for a while, not a long while to feel bad.
Remember, there is no magic formula to admissions. We have no idea who gets admitted and who doesn’t. I recall a student who appeared so well suited for every Ivy he submitted to and was denied to every Ivy he submitted to. I shook my head and couldn’t figure it out. This student had almost perfect IB scores, not mention board scores close to perfect, had a resume that would knock your socks off, essays that were amazing, toured schools, spoke with professors, his ‘why’ essays took into account courses and professors and were razor sharp. To this day, I cannot figure it out. But, he landed at University of Chicago and wouldn’t you know, he was amazingly happy there and realized it was his best fit and the Ivies were not. Chicago was his kind of town and the university was a great challenge for him.
Last year, we realized that the Test Optional aspect of college admissions was going to allow students to be admissible in many more ways. Remember that NYU handled over 100,000 applications, other schools reported massive increases in applications resulting in more denials and deferrals than ever before (UCLA-approximately 150,000 applications). This year may just well be a repeat of last year.
So, yes, you can be sad and hurt for a while. It is okay. But, don’t dwell long. There are a lot of options out there. That’s why we as consultants build lists for you. Remember, these folks in admissions don’t know you. They see you as a bundle of numbers and words. They haven’t had dinner or lunch or coffee with you. So, shrug them off. Don’t even second guess their decision or do any ‘what ifs’. Enjoy the time with your friends, family and make these last months in high school worthwhile. Move on, move forward.