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As Rejections keep rolling in What do you tell your Honor student?

AmusicmommaAmusicmomma Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
As a parent what words are there to say to the child you have watched work so hard for the past four years? My D has lost hundreds of hours of sleep studying, spent summers doing online courses, spent weekends catching up on assignments due to commitments in music, sports and special interest clubs. Yet the rejection and wait list decisions roll in for a kid who has decided to take an all honors/AP course load for four years (who did well). Here's a couple of my responses thus far: "Their loss", "Admissions are so unpredictable", "It's a big lottery". This morning she sat in bed and could barely get out to school after the latest rejection. A friend asked me how do you encourage young people 3-5 years her junior to accept the same task for a chance at the top tier schools. Today I have no words. Can any parent share their thoughts, wisdom or experiences? Wishing parents and students alike the best next week!
Post edited by Amusicmomma on

Replies to: As Rejections keep rolling in What do you tell your Honor student?

  • Keigen2014Keigen2014 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Tell her that life is life, and that college is just a step. I'm sure that she'll get into a college, whether it be a not so renowned college or not, once she gets her first job, determination will get her a long way in life.
  • bookmama22bookmama22 Registered User Posts: 2,008 Senior Member
    It is really difficult to deal with such disappointment. Hopefully you have a few good safety and match schools. It is hard to recognize that while one's child may be an excellent student, well rounded with strong overall profile.... there are so many just like her. Several years ago our high school had twins who were # 1 and #2 and when rejected by numerous schools, they were told for example that a school like MIT rejects 1 out of every 5 vals and sals. Both went on very generous scholarships at second-tier schools and did perfectly fine.
    My d's graduation year was one with exceptionally bright, high acheivers. One is a current White House staffer, one just was accepted to one of the most prestigious medical residency programs in the U.S. and I would not be surprised years from now when he receives a Nobel prize.The White House staffer was one of 20 presidential awardees from National Merit, another was an Intel finalist.... with all that, senior year our guidance counselor met us for Sr. Parent College night and looked at all of us with multiple Ivy and fine school applications and said.. the only safe school for all is Nassau Community College.... needless to say we were all taken aback. This group went on to mutiple Ivy acceptances as well as their share of waitlists and rejections (yes even the future Nobel prize winner)... my lesson was that for the most part, every school will produce outstanding students and there are only so many slots.. to a certain extent it is a crap shoot. Beyond that.. there are many, many students whose families are well-connected and move in certain circles that the majority of us do not.
    It is not a reflection on your d or her efforts..
  • LiloveLilove Registered User Posts: 18 New Member
    Even incredibly hardworking students are rejected from selective schools. If she applied to schools with very low acceptance rates, it probably reflects very little on her character and ability. It is likely that she'll be accepted somewhere. If she has a passion for anything, encourage her in that direction. Not being accepted to college isn't the end of the world, especially for motivated and capable students.
  • GCmom415GCmom415 Registered User Posts: 720 Member
    @amusicmomma I feel you pain..my daughter has taken the same path with the Honor/AP. Its sad sometimes that you can work so hard and do the right thing and this happens. My daughter was in tears the other day when she didnt hear from the college her brother goes too..I have now learned she was wait listed. She was clearly the stronger student. I think they knew we needed financial aid and were not going to offer it to my second child. I do think some colleges will admit you easier when you are not going for financial aid. Its a business after all. I get it. She was waitlisted at a school where her STATS are way over what they were looking for. Sometimes is frustrates me too when athletes are taken who havent "worked" hard in school and take places for academic students. Its a very frustrating process. Im glad this is almost over. My daughter was accepted at a strong state college after being wait listed and if she likes it after admitted students day we will deposit. I hope you find the perfect place for your daughter! Good Luck!
  • FawkesGoldmanFawkesGoldman Registered User Posts: 96 Junior Member
    At every one of those colleges, there are people who by every objective and subjective measure are worse students than she, who made it into the admit pile, as well as better students who landed in the "reject" pile. It happens to the best of us and the worst, and there's no sense getting upset. The only reason to be unhappy is that she wasted untold hours on all those applications, but that was the risk she accepted when she decided to apply to more than a couple schools. Of course, the old "college admissions are a crapshoot" line is inherently bogus; it's just something we tell ourselves when we've been rejected. However, we'll never know why we were rejected, so, like I said, there's no sense getting angry or upset about it. If your daughter hasn't recovered within a day or two, you need to have a talk with her about self-image, and why what a handful of college administrators whom she's never met shouldn't make a bit of difference with regards to that.

    Your second question, about what to tell younger kids, has a simple answer: If you don't push yourself academically, you're wasting your intellect and your potential. If that doesn't matter to the younger child, then the problem at hand runs deeper than simply slacking in high school.
  • randomazn14randomazn14 Registered User Posts: 1,051 Senior Member
    College shouldn't be the pinnacle of your child's life. Getting into a preferred college is great, and even invaluable, but it's not the only route. The ability to dust off the knees from a fall and get back up is much more important. Hopefully with the right match/safety school, she can resume focus on her greater goals. Rejection is a nasty bite, but who's to say it has to be the end?
  • FlyMeToTheMoonFlyMeToTheMoon Registered User Posts: 2,570 Senior Member
    I've seen a difference in acceptances in the last three years. Younger D, who had higher SATs, higher GPA, and many more APs, did not get the same recognition that younger D got. We tell her that times have changed, and we are still proud of her, and she still achieved much more than most kids can ever dream of.
  • ddahwanddahwan Registered User Posts: 591 Member
    Knowledge is never lost is a waste of time. She has gain that. I am sure that today she is a more prepared student that she would have been by taking regular classes. She is a winner. The name in her diploma does not define her. I have seen people graduate in Ives that became no ones and I have seen people graduate from not so famous schools that became successful. It is the reality, otherwise no other University would ever exist because their education would be worthless. I know this site is hard to navigate sometimes. You turn the page and you see hundreds of acceptances, however you forget that you only see part of the story. For each acceptance letter there are at least 8 rejection letters (or waitlisted letters) that go out. There is no sure ticket for anything in life so enjoy the journey and make the best of it. You will find a place that is right for you and if not next year there are always a chance for transfers.
  • floridadad55floridadad55 Registered User Posts: 2,262 Senior Member
    I feel for you and your kid.

    I was in your same spot last year.

    Last year, my son had 2300 SATs, 34 ACT, and 14 AP classes, and got waitlisted at Emory, Vanderbilt, Johns Hopkins, and Davidson.

    Acceptance rates at the top schools are very low. And unless you have an affirmative action hook, a legacy hook, a sports team hook, or something similar, your application, no matter how good, is very similar to thousands of others.

    Everyone is applying to the same top 20 schools.

    You can tell her that if she does well at the school she winds up coming to, she will do just fine in life.

    And she can always try and transfer to her "dream" school.

    In any case, you can tell her that lots of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies went to state universities.

    Most of my friends and I went to Ivies, but the most successful of our group, by far, went to Cortland State University.

    Juniors should be aware that it is much tougher to get into a top school than they think, and that even schools like Northwestern are almost impossible to get into nowadays.
  • floridadad55floridadad55 Registered User Posts: 2,262 Senior Member
    You can also tell her that not only is she competing with americans, but also, the most brilliant kids from China, India, etc.
  • 1anonymous_user1anonymous_user - Posts: 51 Junior Member
    I read stuff like this, very common in this site, and I just shake my head. Why do we as parents put so much pressure on our children that they feel like failures if they do not attend elite schools? If we get them into this cycle, competing for top schools, competing for top grades in top schools so they can get into the best grad schools and then work in the best companies under incredible amounts of pressure.. . . and on and on and on, it is a never ending struggle with life in an attempt to validate one's existence. Are our children any happier for it? If she didn't get into a top school, I assume its because her standardized tests were not where they should have been. Would you really want her competing with kids who are intellectually more gifted than your child . . would that not just make her that much more stressed out and unhappy in college? Why not let her know that she will do perfectly fine in a lesser than an elite school, that she can be as happy or happier than she would have been and that she can still be highly successful.

    All of this push and shove to get into the top elite schools. The way I see it, those schools offer nothing that a person can not get at a less elite school. Its almost a crime that we condition our children to believe they are failures because they do not get into the very top ranked schools. We are setting them up for lives of constant dissatisfaction in my opinion.
  • nervedoctornervedoctor Registered User Posts: 449 Member
    After going through RD with my older child I am a big fan of ED for the younger one. I truly believe that "matches" are really only matches for ED. During RD it is the "safeties" that seem to be matches.
  • schoolfeesschoolfees Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I told my daughter that I will be happy if she gets into any one of her selected 14 schools. I told her that we needed just one acceptance for her to go to college. She choose 13 and I begged her to add the 14th just for the heck of it.
    It is a gamble.
  • sixpence12sixpence12 Registered User Posts: 19 New Member
    I agree with Ddahwan. All of the hard word, varied course load and extra curricular's will have shaped your child into a wonderfully educated and well-rounded individual. Those lessons and experiences cannot be taken away. I have told my child and his friends who are also facing waves of rejections and wait-lists that college is like clothes, a fancy label still does not change or define who the wearer truly is.
  • 3girls3cats3girls3cats Registered User Posts: 1,826 Senior Member
    Davidg, that's a bit harsh. The girl applied to schools based on her high school record--we don't know whether she was pressured to do so and I certainly don't get that impression--and the parent is asking how to help her daughter deal with the disappointment of the rejections. We also don't know which schools are in question. Have a little compassion.

    Amusicmomma, these rejections and wait lists feel personal. I'm really sorry. Your dd needs to know that they are not. She needs to believe that they are not. You can also help by giving her your adult perspective:

    (1) This is a crushing disappointment right now but the years she spent working so hard are not wasted if she gained from them. If she did them only to jump through hoops in order to get that prize at the end then she can learn from that not to pursue that course going forward. If she did these things because she wanted to learn and enjoyed the pursuits in high school then she is enriched by them and will be in a wonderful place to go into her college years ready to take all the benefits available to her there.

    (2) Where she goes to college will not dictate the rest of her life. The great thing about the low acceptance rates is that there are many other accomplished, bright, motivated kids who will be her peers wherever she chooses to go. It means that college will be stimulating and it also means that employers and grad schools are learning to look beyond the standard tippy top schools for the best and the brightest.
This discussion has been closed.