I went to Seaholm High School, the equivalent of Ladue High School outside Detroit, in Birmingham, Michigan. In the mid 1970’s, a University of Michigan representative visited and offered admission to the top 15 students with the best grade point/SAT score combinations in our Baby Boomer class of 800. I was in! College search done. I would attend.
Fast forward to 2000 at MICDS. We moms of juniors learned the strategy of “the Stretch, the Right On and the Safety,” applying to 2 schools in each category, total – 6. (New York City private schools today recommend 12!) Then they introduced what I call “Acronym Math” . . . ED, EA, ACT, SAT, GPA, AP coupled with numbers like 26, 33, 1650, 2250, 2.7, 3.8, 4 & 5. Here’s how this works one college counselor to another:
“He’s a 3.9, 35 and wants to go to Stanford.”
“How many AP’s?”
“5, with 4’s and 5’s but one 3”
Huh? Jargon. Every profession has it, shorthand that saves time, but in general communication, leaves people confused and aggravated. Veteran college parents get it. Newbies? There’s time.
For high school seniors, the one acronym that looms large this month is ED . . . Early Decision. ED is a binding contract that if your one favorite school accepts you, you will go there and immediately withdraw applications to other schools. With most deadlines November 1st, the waiting is tough. Decisions are rendered around December 15th when my phone will ring a lot with shrieks of joy or tears from the gut on the other end. All will be precious. But those rejected will have to start over. Bummer! More essays to write just as winter break is coming. Next deadline, January 1st. I am not a psychologist, but after 15 years working with high school students, please parents of ED kids go softly the next couple weeks. Young hearts are fragile. Remember yours? Rejection is real and awful, a feeling that can only be relieved by you, the most important people in their lives. I know. They tell me . . . as the safe, third party. Each will need love, encouragement and facts. Fact is we never really know why some don’t get in. Fact is there is a perfect match college for each student where happiness and success will grow. We all just keep trying. That’s what life’s about.
Copyright 2016 by Janis Murray
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