As Early decisions begin to trickle in students will be feeling all kinds of emotions—elation, trepidation, dejection, guilt even, maybe. As part of the Roeper family, we all will want to celebrate or sympathize, so please share your news with the people who care about you—particularly the teachers who wrote letters of recommendation for you. I am also very interested, and would appreciate hearing from you. A couple of things to remember:
Celebrate sensitively. This is a pretty stressful time for everyone and for students who do not receive the decision we hoped for, it might take a little time to get used to.
Mourn briefly. If you do not get the decision you wanted, do NOT take this as rejection!!! It’s hard, but important, to remember that this is a process set up by the colleges and universities, who have been building entering classes for years and have a good sense of the freshman class they are looking for; and what they are looking for in each individual will vary from college to college and year to year. All you can do is present yourself as positively and honestly as you can, and I guarantee, there will be colleges that find you to be just right for them—and you will have tough choices to make!
You may not hear from colleges until after the break starts. Remember, an acceptance means you have until May 1 to think, visit or re-visit and decide. A denial means you can cut your losses and move on. And a deferment, assuming you are interested in continuing to be considered, means contacting the admissions office to let them know of your interest and any new information you want to send (see “College News” in Roeper Record).
Some of you may be revisiting your list, perhaps adding some schools that you consider to be “likely” or “safety” schools. Remember, it is only a true “safely” school if you really would be happy to go there! I have long believed that one key to happiness in life is to have a Plan “B” that you are truly excited about. If you would like to brainstorm about additional college choices, I’ll be happy to help do that. If you do add some colleges, remember, for the Common App, once your recommenders have completed their part, everything will immediately be sent to each college as you “submit” your part! If you are applying to any colleges with Rolling Admissions, set yourself a deadline before the end of this week to get your part done. Keep me posted when your part is sent, and I will guarantee our part will be sent as soon as we return from break. In any case, make sure to be aware of the deadlines!
When I think about how students worry about college decisions, and sometimes, even for just a short time, see their worth and value in terms of what college “accepts” them, I want to reach out and let them know that: It’s just school! The joy of what I have done for a living for the past twenty-seven years is to have had the opportunity to get to know young people at a time of their lives when they are ready to launch into the future. I’ve been able to see beauty in every single person I have known. And while each college presents its own unique opportunities, you bring a richness and uniqueness to the experience that far exceeds the location you choose. That’s why we always talk about having a good “fit.” You may have many acquaintances, but you are only best friends with a select few. Never lose sight of how remarkable you are, even for a moment, and definitely don’t let a college admissions office define you for yourself.
Finally, between inclement weather and holiday revelers, and friends who are home after being on their own for months or longer, it is easy to get caught up in the spirit of celebration and forget to make good choices. Take care of yourselves, and make 2014 your best year yet.