Have faith and encouragement in the face of rejection. Feel blessed with every acceptance.
It's that time of year.
You remember the day when you waited and hoped for the big envelope and dreaded about getting the small white envelope.
Today's generation opens an email or goes online to read the big congratulations or the denial.
I am reminded of where our family was 4 years ago as I scrolled through Facebook posts and heard from friends about their child's acceptances and rejections. I am relieved that I have 3 more years to go before we start the process all over again.
It is heartbreaking to see your child's heart broken by rejection. As a parent, you want to do what you can to prevent that feeling. But the truth is that there is grace and gratitude in failure. It is a perfect time to see how your child will bounce back. It is an opportunity.
Think back to when your child was learning to walk. You encouraged them to let go of the sofa or table and step towards you. And when your child fell, you applauded and told them great job. And then you encouraged them, or even picked them back up and dusted them off and asked them to do it again.
Now, go back to the day you taught your child to ride a bike. You encouraged them to ride, you probably held the bike as you ran down the street. And then you let go...and you let them ride. You applauded again. Even though you likely saw said child topple over and skin a knee. But you encouraged them to get back up and start peddling again.
Here is a secret...there is something for everyone. There is an opportunity for anyone who wants one. It may not be at their top choice. But that is not the end of the world. It may be a hard fought battle for some and it may come easy for others. There is no shame in delaying school, transferring schools, starting at a community college, going to vocational school, or more importantly not knowing what you want.
I have been talking with lots of friends and relatives lately about this college acceptance round. I asked Terri, "What was it like for you in 1988 to apply to college?" Terri quickly chuckled, " I asked my dad how far away I could go from home and he told me Gainsville, so I applied to UF."
If only it were so easy now.
It seems that when it comes to college some parents lose their minds. Notice, keyword, parents. Yep, we are all guilty of pushing our own college we graduated from...even though we likely wouldn't get in now. We push the "name" school. We push the "this school is known for this ______ major". When what we need to do is not push. We need to be the parent next to the bike letting go. We need to let our children tour, look, decide. We need to be listening and helping with a variety of options. We need to be guiding them. And of course, providing them with a financial spreadsheet showing them the ever-growing cost of college.
Your child's college choice is not a reflection of who you the parent are. This is their experience, not ours.
If the process seems difficult you can always look for help from a variety of places. Your school may have a good guidance department, or a college and career center. You can talk to those who have gone before you. Of course, there are also college consultants who specialize in this area.
My personal mom and educator advice when looking at schools is to find the fit. A good fit means it has what your child needs to be successful. KEYWORDS NEEDS!
1- Do you have a child with a disability? How good is their Office of Students with Disabilities?
2- Do you have a child who needs access to medical care? Does it have an affiliate hospital or is the wellness center easily accessible?
3- Does your child have food allergies? Does the college mandate a meal program and if so do they cater to a student with allergies?
4- Financially, what is the return on investment? This is a big one for me... what is your child looking at as a career...if it is teaching...a state school will work just fine. But if it's Petroleum engineering then we need to look more specific.
The facts are that there are many colleges, universities and state schools out there. There is a fit for every child. Keep it in perspective.
Aside from the popular rankings, you can find online, here is a website you didn't likely take into consideration: Colleges That Change Lives...yes this is a collection of colleges that do just that...impact your child's life. Check out this site www.ctcl.org.
Final words of wisdom for those of you who will be applying next year: Take a deep breath. Have faith that your child will choose well. Have faith and encouragement in the face of rejection. Feel blessed with every acceptance.
Wife, Mom, Educator and Lifelong Learner