Yesterday, Geeky Boy and I hashed out his college application plan. Mostly, it was me prodding him to do things. He’s decided to apply early action to one place. He has three other definite options, and he plans on adding two or three more that we likely won’t visit unless he gets in. We’re using mostly the Common Application, of course, but two of his schools, state schools, do not use the Common App, and when he tried to sign up for the online application at one school, he got a SQL error. Utter fail. Not a good face for a school to put forward, frankly. I’m annoyed that the state schools don’t use the Common App, but at least they should have a working application of their own, ya know? It makes me not want to apply.
We made a list of the things that need to get done, and set a two-week deadline. They’re things like getting a new Naviance password (Naviance is the system high schools use to send transcripts, recommendations, etc.), ask for letters of rec from teachers and/or guidance counselors, and start crafting the essay. The main question on Geeky Boy’s mind, “What if none of these schools let me in?” He Googled acceptance rates for all his schools. They’re all quite high–70% or so for most of them. One is around 40%. I said, “It’s a crap shoot, really.” He said, “So it’s like playing poker?” “A little. So you have to put your best cards on the table.” “I don’t like this metaphor,” he said. Me, neither.
I articulated this issue before, using exactly the same phrase, “crap shoot.” But now here we are, actually have to make some choices and to let others make choices about Geeky Boy. It’s nerve wracking. I think the decision to apply early action was a good one. He will either get in or he won’t. If he does, it will take some pressure off, and even though it may still come down to money, that’s an issue we can deal with. I can’t tell a school to please let my son in.
While I’d said how nerve wracking the process is for Geeky Boy, with his uneven record, I’m seeing seniors at my school with better records, agonizing about it just as much. They may be stretching to try to get into a school they really want to get into. They may end up disappointed with the schools that do let them in. They’re not enjoying gathering all those materials together or writing essays about themselves. I realize there has to be a process, except for open admissions places, but it just seems like a lot to put on an 18 year old. It definitely wasn’t like this 25 years ago when it was me. I felt like–and my record was uneven, too–that I’d get in somewhere I applied. Geeky Boy is not so sure.