One morning a student stood at my desk and told me that she had just been accepted to a college. Sadly, she couldn’t have been less enthusiastic. It turned out that she had been accepted to her “safety school”, and that she had no desire to attend that school. She told me that she wasn’t going to be happy until she heard from the other colleges – the ones that she really wanted to attend.
I understand the temptation to downplay a “safety school” acceptance. When my boys were going through college admissions, though, we decided to enjoy each and every acceptance. Truthfully, some acceptances were more exciting than others, but also truthfully, one of my sons ended up attending his financial safety school, and I’m glad we have good memories of celebrating when he got his acceptance letter.
When I see kids and parents refuse to take joy in the safety school acceptance letter, it worries me. It’s still only December, which means there is plenty of time for minds to change, or for rejection letters to arrive, or for lucrative merit scholarships to arrive … or not arrive.
Sometimes, when April comes, a safety school that offered significant merit scholarships might look a lot more appealing. How in the world will you convince your child that the safety school is the way to go if all along it has been given low status? Your child might feel deceived if you suddenly start talking up the safety school when it’s time to write the deposit check.
We have fun memories of the days my kids got accepted to their colleges – both the ones they attend and the ones they chose not to attend. My kids knew cost was a big factor, and they knew not to get too attached to any school until we had all the financial offers in. The standing joke at my house was that our kids were going to the highest bidder, but that’s a different post.
If your child is in the waiting stage right now, I feel your pain, I wish you well, and I hope that you can enjoy each and every acceptance. Just think – a year from now your child will be at one of those schools.