Let the crap shoot begin

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.


3 Replies to “Let the crap shoot begin”

  1. Eldest is gearing up for her applications and filled with angst, even though her record’s pretty solid. Applications certainly are a lot more stress-filled than they were in the 70s when I applied (one place, early admission).

  2. Wow. And for our family things will be WAY harder because when this time comes K & I have NO IDEA WHATSOEVER of the process since we never went to college here in the U.S., only graduate school.

    And our sons are going to attend a private academy which is not amazing academically as far as I can tell as an outsider (I am friends with some administrators and teachers, so I guess that by the time my sons are there we’ll have a clearer idea of how good/bad it is and what will take our kids to get admitted to good schools).

    I wish you and Geeky Boy lots of patience and endurance during this process which must be horribly nerve-wrecking, I can’t even imagine!

  3. While it makes sense that common app doesn’t work for state schools, it seems like there could be a second common app FOR state schools!

    Also, GB is going to have something to do. If he doesn’t get into one of the schools that he is interested in, he can do a year of Americorps and reapply. He can take classes at community college and reapply. He could do one of a hundred other volunteer options, live on a kibbutz, do semester at sea, go on outward bound, work on a farm or a shop or something— and reapply. He has options. What I find difficult about the admissions angst is this sense of panic–hurry, hurry, hurry. A year is enormous in the life of a kid who is 16/17. We ask so much commitment of them so far in advance of its necessity. I spoke with a high school senior last week at church who is utterly panicked about finding a major so she looks “committed” on her applications. It just makes me sad. Too much, too soon IMHO, sayeth the mother of a 5 year old!

    Patience and endurance indeed!

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