GoldOwl---this is well said!
My child's first ED choice was UPenn but we (parents) were able to encourage him to change to Stanford as restricted early action and UPenn to regular for the only reason that Stanford is closer to our relatives in San Francisco, academic-wise it really didn't matter!
Anyways, come December 15 for the results and the email said it all --" I am very sorry to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission to Stanford University."
My child was devastated but got over it, the Dean of Admission's article was a reassurance if that's the right word! http://files.e2ma.net/37634/assets/d...aw_rea2010.pdf
Then my child was given an interview from a UPenn alumni that change my child's perspective maybe forever!
During that meeting interview, the alumni suggested to try applying at NYU, luckily NYU still has the early decision II, the alumni was from NY and he said part reason why he went to UPenn was because he wanted to get out of NY.
We sent the applications on time, then at exactly Feb 15 my child got an acceptance at NYU Class 2016!
I believed everything was meant to be! and not getting into your "dream" school is not the end of the world after all!
My child didn't have a "dream" school, the colleges were chosen based on what they can offer to his/her future and not just for the sake of being in a "prestige" school.
"An undergraduate degree from Stanford, or an Ivy League college, may well end up being only one line at the bottom of a resume. What parents and college applicants across the country need to remember is that the news they receive, whether good or bad, is but a single step on a much longer journey." ~Richard H. Shaw, Dean of Admission, Stanford
...please excuse the long reply, just thought I'd share as a proud Mum! :-)