Dear Senior Parents,
Processing admission decision results is HARD for parents too.
You have spent the past 17 or so years trying to provide the very best for your daughter & son and now you are in a position where you have no control and you can’t guarantee admission decisions that are in the pipeline, or change disappointing news.
However, you do have control over how you respond to those admission decisions. If your daughter did a comprehensive college application process she has likely received some acceptance letters, some wait list offers and some letters denying her admission. As parents we know that life is all about challenges, adventures, taking risks, AND managing disappointment. These next weeks may be filled with every emotion you can imagine including joy, anger, sadness, and confusion for both of you! In my opinion, your job now is to provide the calm in the midst of the storm (even while you may be feeling a bit melancholy yourself).
Allow your son time to gather up all of the admission decisions. Congratulate him, commiserate with him and then-and this is sometimes the hardest part- let him take the lead. Your confidence in him lets him know that you think he is ready for this next adventure. Stepping back now prepares him for moving away later. Give him the space to process and make sure he has the skill set in place to get answers and additional information. Though we in the admissions office are happy to answer parents’ questions, we really appreciate hearing from our admitted students directly. Often it takes some time to sort through the offers of admission to determine how to proceed.
If your daughter can take the time to visit schools where she has been admitted that is wonderful. While she is on campus give her time to venture out on her own to meet students, faculty and staff on her own terms. Ideally she is figuring out if this place can be home for four years. Allow her to discern what the best fit is for her. Come to each campus visit with a plan in place regarding your level of involvement and your role during visits.
Obviously you know your child best so you can help by asking him questions that will help him get to the heart of the decision-- but try not to insert your own personal preferences into the equation. Encourage him to create a spreadsheet or a list of “pros” and “cons” and list of unanswered questions. Don’t overload your son with pressure to follow a sibling or great aunt to their beloved alma mater.
For many parents the college decisions may be confusing. If you didn’t go to college or you attended a university in another country this process can be daunting. Be supportive and encouraging. Your favorite University may not match your son’s, and that’s OK. After all, he is going to college, not you. Be a sounding board, a pillar of support, and a cheerleader, and make sure he gets answers to all remaining questions.