College Counseling & Planning      Orleans, MA. (774) 801-2449      Ashland, OR. (541) 488-0919
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APRIL 1ST - THE LONG AWAITED DATEApril 1st is not the day of trick playing for any senior waiting to find out their fate for the next four years. Instead it has become the magical date when many colleges announce their decisions. An obsession with the mailbox or computer develops. Of course, the hope is that the colleges' decisions will be acceptance, but denial or waitlist could be the reality. Everyone should be ready for the tidal waves of emotions that can range anywhere from elation to shock and in some cases, indignation.

After the dust settles it will be necessary for all to come to grips with the results and have a reality check, pause for introspection and make some decisions. The happiest situation, of course, is to be accepted by all the colleges. If this should happen, review your priorities, choose the best one, give a sigh of relief and then get going on the next homework assignment - grades still count! (And, don't gloat over your good fortunate - not everyone will be so lucky.)

For some, there will be a few denials sprinkled in between the acceptances. Some of these denials may be from schools high on your list. So how do you react? How do you figure out what happened? First, let me stress, a denial is not the end of the world. Although it is a hard pill to swallow, a denial likely means that a student was not as qualified for the institution as the competition. The key word here is 'as'. For selective schools the competition can be staggering and the reality is that not all qualified applicants can be admitted.

If it is the case that the school was just too much of a reach, then once the tears, anger and disappointment have subsided try looking at the denial as a favor. I know, now we are really talking about a bitter pill. Although you want to be challenged in college you really don't want to go to a college where you have to struggle every day (and every weekend) to keep your head above water.

Not to rub salt in the wound, but another reason for a denial is the possibility that a well-qualified applicant submitted a poorly prepared application. A review of your application may reveal grammatical or spelling mistakes, typing errors, sloppiness, a negative tone or content, a poorly written essay, or a lack of enthusiasm for the college. If this is the case, then accept the reality that you messed up and move on.

Finally, a pill you can swallow. There are elements beyond your control that impact the college's decision: such as the overall application pool, the expectations of yield (the percentage of admitted students who choose to attend), the needs of the class make-up (a tuba player verses a baton twirler), the restrictions on admitting out-of-state students, dorm and classroom space and many other reasons beyond your imagination.

If waitlisted, you have a few choices: first, you need to choose from the schools to which you have been accepted and send in the deposit, second you need to decide if you want to pursue the waitlisted school by showing continued interest, or third, you can let the school know that you are no longer interested and wish to be taken off the list.

Whatever the mail -snail or email - should bring, keep reminding yourself (students and parents alike) that although this is all very big on your radar screen right now, the final decision usually turns out for the best. If you have done your homework well, your remaining choices should all be perfect places for you to spend the next four years.

Judith Chrisite
College Planning Consultants