Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Learning from Rejection

These are scary times for high school seniors as they discover where they've been accepted -- or not. I still remember an April day, during spring break, when I was home and waiting for the mail. Except the mail was late due to a substitute postman, of all days. So I passed the time talking with friends who called to share their fates.

Finally the mail arrived and the news was not what I had hoped for. I'd been accepted at fine schools, just not the one I'd wanted. I spent the next week or so analyzing my situation, opted not to wait for wait lists, and made my choice. There was pain, but it was soon overtaken by graduation, a summer job, and excitement about a new chapter, even if it wasn't the one I'd counted on.

Around this time of year, you can always find stories about how people deal with rejection -- or perceived failure -- including getting a thin envelope from their college of choice. They're worth reading, whether you're in high school, in a challenging relationship, or struggling to find a job. An astute friend pointed out a good example. Even though it was J.K. Rowling, and even though she was giving the 2008 commencement address at Harvard, she makes good points, in memorable fashion, about what she called the "fringe benefits of failure."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Who Needs Another College Blog?

After all, there are already tons of excellent blogs related to pre-college topics, by authors, purveyors of prep programs or advisory services, even some by college admissions staff. Me, I am just a parent who wants to be knowledgeable and clear-headed as our high school freshman embarks on the hunt for the right college.

What I need is a blog that will offer useful ideas and information that will see us through senior year. Hence this blog: to help us understand and approach the college admissions process in a disciplined manner and to share what I've learned with anyone who might find it helpful.

After months of procrastination, this actually turned out to be an auspicious time to debut Mom's College Cram Course. This is the week most seniors will be hearing from colleges. Also, in our family, we're pretty much through that enormous transition from middle school to high school. For the first seven months of this school year, our teen has focused on getting a footing, figuring out the ropes, becoming comfortable with a far higher level of self-imposed and teacher expectations. But now, it's time to look ahead.

This blog is decidedly not about taking the process over from the student. Rather, it's about raising important issues now rather than later, providing topics for informed family discussions and establishing guideposts to serve us during these challenging years. Expect to see reports from the front most weekdays. After all, we've got a lot of ground to cover in the next thousand days or so.