With the advent of December, seniors (and parents) will start to hear from colleges if they applied early action (non-binding) or early decision (binding). Some parents have been through this process with older children; some have not. What I have learned as a parent of three college graduates is that it is important to emotionally prepare yourself(ves) for whatever news arrives in the next few weeks. Acceptances are glorious and joyous moments of celebration; deferrals and rejections, of course, are blunt and can be difficult to process and understand after your child (and you) have invested and expended so much time and effort with high hopes and dreams. How you as a parent(s) handle your own disappointment, and simultaneously lend support to your child takes some thought and planning: What words and gestures will be helpful? What is the best time to talk about the news, process it, and eventually plan forward? You know your child best. Have a tentative game plan: Time alone, a walk, ice cream, special “pick me up” dinner…This is a time/moment when our experience and wisdom in dealing with disappointments – school, job, life circumstances – can be very beneficial. Think about it and prepare.
Finally, please know that if good news does not arrive this month, continue to believe that your child will get into the right college (the best fit) for him/her in the coming months: “There is a college for everyone; there is no such thing as only one perfect college.” Believe in your child’s essential good qualities and attributes; I am confident that the process will recognize and reaffirm them in the end. And, most importantly, remember: “Our children’s self worth and our love and esteem for them has absolutely nothing to do with college admissions.” So keep the faith no matter what happens in the coming weeks.