In the wake of early decision and early action results, the phone lines are buzzing. Parents all over the country are trying to unravel the mystery of why certain kids got in to certain schools and others were left by the wayside.
The most common discussions:
- Figuring out why 11 students from a certain prestigious school in this neighborhood were all rejected or deferred from Stanford. And why a legacy kid/inventor was deferred from Yale when he didn't just do model UN; he gave a speech at the real UN.
- Dissecting why some apps were successful and others weren't. An essay was about Katrina aid = REJECTED! An essay about gathering up the nerve to sky dive = DEFERRED! An essay with clever musings about getting lost in Boston = ACCEPTED! We will never know why, but we can theorize forever.
- Agonizing about mistakes on one's already-submitted Common App. Once you click, you cannot fix typos, omitted ECs or add a Junior Statesman award. The Common App asks for a list of extracurriculars which you must rate them in order of importance to you. Should your son have said that working in the aquarium meant more to him than playing baseball on a traveling team? Should your daughter have mentioned the archery award she received in eighth grade? Once you click you can never go back.
- Rehashing the mantra that the deans and guidance counselors and parents of older kids repeat over and over again: They all end up where they're supposed to. They all end up where they're supposed to. Fine…But does that apply to the Most Difficult Year for College Admissions in the History of the World? And what about the six graduates from our school who are thinking of transferring or "taking a year off" to become organic farmers?
Referrals, though cruel because they prolong the uncertainty, can be rationalized. But there are no easy answers for why some of the most stellar applicants were rejected. The Neurotic Parent Institute is setting up a College Admissions Investigative unit and will report back soon.