College or bust. Forget football, forget rugby. In the town where I live, the college admissions process is more competitive than any contact sport. This blog chronicles the process.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Unthinkable

The unthinkable has happened. A. did not get in to M.I.T. It is going to take a while to process this. MIT has been such a big part of our lives for a long, long time now. We're not only saying goodbye to the excitement and anticipation of AJ attending, we're saying goodbye to a lot of family history. If MIT were in my will, I would cut it out. This is small, so small, but I am not yet able to see the bigger picture of all the good that MIT does---for other kids. Right now, this rejection feels like a kick in the teeth--a sharp, forceful, kick in the teeth, followed by a hard right jab to the gut.

But, the unthinkable has happened and we are still here. Still breathing in and out. There is nothing for us to do now but wait to hear from other schools. God, how it sucks to be told flat out that you're not good enough. Never mind all the talk about "the match," to the kids it feels like flat out rejection. And it hurts.

Pray pray pray that the next response is an acceptance.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Understated, but no less elated

A came to us the other evening and said, rather casually, that he'd gotten in to Carnegie-Mellon. His enthusiasm was tempered somewhat by the fact that he didn't get into the most competitive C-M school, The School of Computer Science, but instead got into his second choice, The Mellon School of Science. And this is a bad thing why, exactly? Truth be told it's the better place for him. It will allow him to indulge his interest in computers, while still enabling him to pursue other interests in science and (I hope) writing.

This is all good. It's all great. Our reaction somewhat muted as well, however, as we do not yet have an acceptance letter in hand. Once we receive it, then I think excitement will set in big time. If he gets in nowhere else, Carnegie-Mellon is a place he can be proud to go. And a place we'd be proud to send him.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Clinging to CollegeData

This may have been a mistake: went online to and quickly became immersed in all of the minutia of the admissions process. The site offers a "calculate your chances" feature. Type in GPA, number of honors classes taken, test scores, and the number of extracurricular activities, and one is rewarded with one of three "answers:" "Reach," "Maybe," and "Good Bet." Two of A's schools came up "good bet," not surprisingly Rochester and Carnegie-Mellon. The remaining five came up as "maybe." Understanding that this is all a complete crap shoot, it was somewhat heartening that no school came up as "Reach." It's a reach to believe this, of course, but comforting nonetheless.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

All the Angst That's Fit to Print!!!

Misery loves company. And thanks to the Web, we now have quite a party indeed. Just stumbled across this NY Times article of a year ago: College Admissions Angst Finds a Forum on the Web. The article focuses on kids blogging as a way to cope with the admissions process. And as for the ways parents cope? It doesn't specify. I hear liquor helps.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

They don't call, they don't write . . .

Herewith my request that all future admissions officers be the offspring of Jewish mothers. Perhaps then they will better understand the angst parents (not to mention their kids) are feeling as we sit, waiting for the phone, waiting for the email, waiting for the post, or for any communication whatsoever from the schools our kids have been trying to woo. The silence is deafening.

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Monday, March 05, 2007

Oh, Goody

This posted on Brown's admission website: "This year, Brown received a record number of applications for undergraduate admission, 19,025, from 50 states and 72 countries. "

And I want to know this why, exactly?


March Madness

So here it is, March. Not only are all the applications in, they are more than likely sorted into their respective piles. I imagine one pile towering high, like Jack's beanstalk, breaking through the admissions office ceiling and threatening to move ever skyward. This would be the "denied" pile. Beside it, well confined within the parameters of the admissions office, sits another pile. This is the "wait list" pile, and it is a sad one, indeed. All those manilla folders seem to know their fate. There they sit, flattened against one another like fresh-scrubbed young men at cotillion trying hard to deny the inevitable. And then, in a tidy, trim pile on the dean of admissions' desk, sit the chosen few. Operative word: Few. Small in number and easily held together with a 2-inch binder clip, the contents of that pile fit easily into a standard-size briefcase, or even an overly generous coat pocket. An exaggeration, of course, but at the moment it doesn't seem like much of a stretch.

Given the current presumed status of all the apps, why is it that I can't seem to let go? An ad in the latest edition of Harvard Magazine calls out to me: "Aiming for the Ivy League?" it asks, and goes on to trumpet its "unparalleled admission rate." And I actually think about giving them a call, when my eyes register the headline: "Attention, Rising Seniors." And it dawns on me, slowly, that my son no longer qualifies for their services. The ad is targeting next year's crop of high school seniors, already muscling their way on to the bus before their predecessors manage to get off.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When or If?

Last night at dinner A and his Dad got into an animated conversation about some physics problem. Terms like "vertex" and "momentum" and "friction" were bandied about, along with strings of equations that, of course, we all should know. I made no attempt to feign interest. Once it was determined that the rotation of the ball bearing in question is what led to its energy loss, I suggested we pass the potatoes and move on to other topics. Preferably in English. This is when Dad leans back in his chair and waxes on about MIT in general, his physics classes in particular, and reminisces about just how hard it was.

To which A responds: "Believe me, when I go to MIT I'm going with my tail between my legs." He quickly corrects himself and restates: "If I go to MIT." It was an interesting slip. We'll know soon enough if it was prescient.

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