There are several ways to be told "No".
I remember the first time I asked a girl out on a date like it was yesterday...she said- "No".
First kiss attempt..."No".
I tried out for the H.S Varsity Basketball team..."No".
There are "No's" and there are "Rejections".
I was born in Tennessee. I wanted to attend the Univ. of Tennessee..."Denied" (same as rejected, ha).
Somewhere along the way, I got a date, a first kiss, an acceptance into Clemson. I tried out for their golf team..."No".
Who forgets those early no's, rejections, denials? Not me. I remember them better than the yesses.
I was visiting with my Therapist just last week. She asked me- "Do you have scars left from any teen-age rejections?"
I said- "Yes!" (I won't mention her name to protect the guilty, ha)
My wonderful therapist said- "That answers some real questions."
Do you still remember when you were rejected by that boy or girl, team or group of friends? If you really felt it, you will never forget it.
As parents, if we felt the pain then and can still remember it now, maybe we need to think about that as we formulate a college application & admission strategy for our kids.
Sure, it's perfectly okay to get a denial or two, but how about 6, 8, 10, or even 15 denials? Does that bother you? Not likely because it's not your pain, rather, it's your child's pain.
Your child’s future or sense of self-esteem should not be bet on a shot in the dark to YOUR dream school (not a typo…your dream school, not theirs).
Stick with me here. This is a constant theme ringing throughout America and beyond. People applying to 10, 12, 15, 18 colleges on a whim that just maybe their child was suddenly a qualifier for admissions into "reach" schools or that applying to more schools would create greater opportunities for a reach-school acceptance.
The "just maybe" strategy was born in the "Test-Optional" era. It's a terribly misguided strategy filled with fallacies and predictable, painful results.
I've seen and heard so many parents gloating over the names and numbers of colleges their child applied to. But those same parents typically go silent a few months later upon receiving the predictable admission decisions.
All that effort and energy going into writing several supplemental essays and then submitting 8, 12, or even 15 applications to mostly "just maybe" schools would yield much greater results if used on the 5 - 6 top priority and realistic colleges of your child.
And quite frankly, getting four of six acceptances surely beats getting a stream of ten or twelve denials.
In full disclosure here, a dad-client of mine and I were just having this discussion last weekend. He inspired this memo and helped me craft the message.
He did something very unusual, and yet, very effective...perhaps even brilliant. The family strategy was to apply to six colleges with two being their daughter's top priority colleges. The other four applications combined match and reach schools. Upon receiving the first two decisions, both acceptances to her top two schools- Texas A&M and Northeastern, they withdrew the other four applications.
Most people would ask, why would they do that? Dad instinctively knew that his daughter could live her life knowing that she was 2-for-2! There was no further need to add possible rejection into the mix. She'll be off to Northeastern in the fall. I love that.
On the contrary, each year I receive so many random calls from unhappy parents sharing their woes upon learning of their child being denied many times over, including denials from their top choice schools. They must look to me to have a sympathetic ear.
If the learning-curve could talk, it would say-
Ditch the just-maybe strategy. Don't chase the test-optional policy. Rejections are not your loss nor your pain. Rather, the pain is felt by your child and is a forever-pain.
Focus your effort and energy on the few schools having the desired academics, student culture, living environment, and influences that will help your child unleash the massive potential they have within themselves. If you do this, you'll enjoy forever-satisfaction!