Ice Cream, Exercise or New Shoes: Managing your Response to the College DecisionPosted on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 12:49
Jody Sweeney, Associate Director of College Counseling at Philadelphia's William Penn Charter School, joins us for our next installment of reflections, advice and practical guidance for students and parents on all things decisions -- from strategy, decision-making and coping through how to talk about your news with parents, friends and nosy neighbors. We like her advice -- "Check your gut." And we love some of her coping mechanisms!
The envelope please: Whether it be thick or thin, or rather a peek online, the culmination of your college search is here. With May 1st as the National Candidates’ Reply date, it is just weeks until you finally choose where you will spend the next four years.
Initially, an unanticipated challenge is often managing your own reactions to admissions decisions. Like an actor just eliminated from awards season, those of you with a thin envelope must forge ahead. Protect your emotions and take a break from social media. Mourn for a day or two; that’s certainly justifiable. Some ice cream, a pick-up basketball game, or an excursion to your favorite shoe department can help. But, like the actor who later wins an Oscar, as one door shuts, another one opens. So, forget about the college that didn’t love you and attend to those that do. You can find happiness in many different places, but you can only enroll at one.
Likewise, for those of you who sit in the enviable position of many nods, take a moment to celebrate, but don’t get overwhelmed by the attention and information. Take care in what you post online, too, for other friends may not be sharing your same joy. Finally, take a deep breath, focus, and drill beneath the surface to gain the understanding you need to make your final choice.
To do this, connect. Make the campus come to you or go to it. If you are in the position to visit the college, register for the accepted student open house, stay overnight in the dorm, visit a class, read the student paper, talk to an admissions or financial aid officer. Take as much time as you can -- within reason, you only have a month -- to make sure you know this college is the best choice for you. If you can’t go to the campus (or even if you can), connect through online admissions chats, Facebook groups, regional accepted student receptions, or coffee with a local alumnus. Email with a faculty member, read the online student paper, or call/Skype with your regional admissions or financial aid officer.
Your search is a personal one and one that you may have kept private. Now is the time to confer with your parents or mentors. Seek advice from only a few, those people that you trust and who know you best. Check your gut; pay attention to your intuition -- your inner voice.
Then, when you approach the mailbox with your deposit check, or the online portal with your credit card, you can put your payment down with confidence, knowing you conducted thorough and thoughtful research.
And, remember -- no later than May 1st... and perhaps wearing a new pair of shoes.