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Entries in College Acceptance (1)


College Acceptance

College Acceptance

My son immediately broke down in tears.  He had opened his first acceptance letter, ever, from his safety school, and was accepted. 

Bud, that’s great!  Why the tears?

Somebody wants me.

It was at that moment I learned of the intense competitive pressures faced by high school seniors.

Back in the mid-seventies when I was applying to colleges, it didn’t have the same significance.  Anyone wanting to go to college generally got to go…whether to a prestigious school, or to the local Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C).  The Vietnam War ended for the United States in 1973, and so going to college to avoid military deployment was passé.

My list was narrowed to two – Case Western Reserve University (CWRU, 4 year college, I would have to live at home for finances), or the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT, 5 year program including internship, and “away” from home.)  My ultimate decision was spur of the moment: I was called to the high school Principal’s office.  “RIT just called me.  You haven’t paid your deposit.”  This was the defining moment.  “I’m not going to school there.  I’m going to CWRU!”  I never looked back, and had a great college experience.

Fast forward, and times have changed.

There are some other factors weighing in:

  • I believe high school admissions counselors use fear to motivate students with senioritice.  Something has to drive the students to pay attention to the (sometimes daunting) college admissions process. 
  • College costs are skyrocketing – adding another whole level of family concern
  • Social Media – everyone gossips about college and acceptance in a very public way.

Parents need to be supportive of their students during this stressful time.  It’s a challenge – seniors are often at the height of their teen arrogance, and often push parents away.  Parents can helpfully guide and support the student.  Also, open conversation needs to be had about how to fund college expenses, including grants (and grant applications) and financial aid (and the dreaded FAFSA form.)  Essays need to be written, and academic qualifications rounded out with other activities.

This can be an exciting time for the student and parents….and scary too.

My son?  He also got accepted at his number 1 choice and graduated.