Professors' Advice: What to Do While You're Waiting to Hear
Listen to this professor's advice on what to do while you're waiting to hear about your college acceptance.
By Dr. Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S Hyman
March 11, 2009
Extra Pointer. If you decide to deal with your impatience with a bad attitude, your friends will be justifiably confused about how to celebrate when they get an acceptance letter. You don’t want to be excluded from their next impromptu celebration based solely on your bad reaction to their last round of good news.
Bonus Advice for Parents: Being upset at an outcome that doesn’t seem fair is a natural human reaction. The kid in your house is likely to be very upset if he or she doesn’t get into his or her first-choice college. Even in the face of crying and tantrums, you can’t fix this. You can help move this unhappiness to the next stage by turning the conversation from what’s “unfair” to what’s “real.” What’s real is that they will not be attending the college they hoped they would. What’s real is that the decision made by the college was not about your child’s worth as a person (and certainly not yours) but about something no one in the process (not even the admissions director) can control: the size of the applicant pool and the number of available places. The sooner you help your kid move on to acceptance of the options, the sooner the drama will end.
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And remember, this isn’t really about you and your friends’ opinions of you. This is about moving this child to a healthy emotional state so that he or she can adapt to this new reality. Suggest something positive to do, like reading over the “good things about your second choice” list from tip #7. If they feel that something must have gone badly wrong for the college to have made this decision, let them (not you) make the call to inquire about why. I don’t recommend that every disappointed applicant do this, but if it is the one thing that will bring closure, then encourage them to do it … and move on.
Dr. Lynn F. Jacobs and Jeremy S Hyman are authors of the book Professors’ Guide to Getting Good Grades in College — the first instruction manual for college. You can download a free chapter here, or e-mail Lynn and Jeremy a question or comment here. We’d love to hear from you!
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