Decisions Are Ready – Are You?

 Decisions Are Ready   Are You?The moment we’ve all been waiting for is now when colleges are releasing their final decisions for Fall, 2013 entrance and it promises to be another wild ride emotionally for most involved.

It goes without saying that it is respectful and most appropriate to give your child privacy when they go online to find out the decision.  Please don’t have a camera ready to capture the moment.  Getting rejected is traumatizing enough for most students.  It’s cruel to mark the moment digitally.  Remember that as stressful as this is for you, it’s a billion times worse for them, though they may try to be stoic.  You are the Parent, the Adult.  You have a unique and important role here and this is one of those go-time moments in parenting.  Stay calm no matter what!  No yelling, crying, cursing, insulting, humiliating…keep your reaction steady and grounded.  Follow your child’s lead.

I want to help you get ready for whatever happens, so let’s break out the possible decision categories and review your strategy for the decision your child receives:

Admitted:

If your child is admitted to the school of their choice, hurray!!  Congratulate them, urge them to take the night off and go celebrate.  Just remember that this is their moment, not just yours.  Let your child enjoy their moment fully in their own way.  Remind them how hard they worked for this and how proud you are of them as young adults.  Hugs are great too…my guess is that even the most defended teenager will melt into your arms with such good news.

Wait Listed:

In the college admissions world, a wait list decision means an admission pending space – good news – but therein lies the rub because it’s anyone’s guess until mid-May or so whether or not that school will have space available, will go to the wait list and for how many students.  Your child will have to commit to another college that does admit them in the meantime and that most likely will mean a hefty deposit that will be forfeited if they change their mind and go elsewhere.  Being wait listed is sorta like going to limbo because another 6 weeks or more of waiting time is involved and I’m sure your child (and you) are so done with this process.  But if they really want to go to the school that wait listed them, they will need a new strategy.  I’ll make that a separate blog entry in the next few days.

Denied:

This is the proverbial ‘thin envelope’ of yesteryear that no one wants, but most members of the applicant pool will receive.  🙁  Your child will really need you now. While it hurts to be rejected by anyone or anything, please keep a few things in mind.  First, the application numbers are so crazy high everywhere now that getting an admission is almost like hitting the lottery.  Statistically, the odds are against nearly everyone in the applicant pool.  (I know I know…that doesn’t help at all.)  Second, though we all hate rejection, it does build the resilience that your teenager will need for life.  And third, things have a way of always working out for you and your child, right?  Now is the time to anchor into reality and remind your child how life is, how the crazy unexpected things end up being the best in the end.  Help them reframe the decision and this painful moment.  It’s best to prepare your reframes before the fact so you can have them ready for the hard moments.  Tell your child your rejection stories and how they worked out for you in the end.  Mostly though, focus on letting your child save face.  They have just done the hardest thing in their life and they took a big hit.  That hurts.

Remember that feelings are just feelings, little packets of biochemical energy that sweep through and are soon gone.  Don’t attach to them.  Observe them as if they were a breeze blowing through a tree and let them go.  It’s all going to be alright.  Rejection, afterall, is God’s protection.

No matter what the final decision, I encourage you to take your child out to celebrate their blossoming adulthood so you can toast them and tell them how proud you are of them.  Tell them how lucky you are to be their parent and then list a few things you love about them.  Take the conversation off of college admissions as a prize of some kind and put it where it belongs – on your child’s bravery for being willing to step up, apply and be judged by strangers in the most public of ways.  Now that’s a true initiation.

 

 

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