When describing the seemingly high number of seniors at his daughter’s school who’d received disappointing news from their top choice colleges, a Collegewise father once said to me, “There’s a lot of carnage in the senior class.”
“Carnage” was a troubling word choice, mostly because I knew how many students and parents would likely agree with the description.
The college admissions process is injected with a lot of unnecessary drama. For many families, high school has been a three-year quest to gain admission to a famous college. Along the way, every test taken, every GPA point earned, every hour invested, award won and accolade recorded–it’s all been leading to this fateful day when the news arrives. It’s no wonder that so many kids who don’t get the decision they’d hoped for feel like their hard work was all for nothing, that they’ve failed at college admissions, and that they’ve sealed their fate to be unhappy and unfulfilled at a lesser college.
But good news or bad news, the reality is that the day a college decision arrives is just one day in what will hopefully be a long life full of experience and possibility. It’s difficult for many teenagers to have that perspective, especially if they’re smarting from a recent denial.
Parents, here’s where you come in.
From the day you became a parent, you likely learned quickly that there is no manual issued that tells you what to do. And that can be especially true during the college admissions process. But I can tell you that as decisions arrive, good news or bad news, the way a parent reacts colors their teen’s perception of the experience. And this past post, Parents: avoid these five mistakes when the news arrives, is the closest thing I can give you to a manual. I promise that if you commit to following the advice contained within, you’ll be supporting your senior like nobody else can, doing your most important job exceptionally well, and preventing unnecessary drama from ruining the experience.