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You Can Only Go to One College

As the majority of traditional college application deadlines come to pass, we now enter what I truly believe is the hardest part of this whole process:

Waiting for the school decisions.

This season always reminds me of one family I met many years ago, whose only student ran the gamut from one extreme to the next.

The father contacted me in late Spring of that year to convey that her first choice school had placed her on its waiting list (a campus that was over 2,000 miles away).

Understandably, he was upset on behalf of his only child and his feelings of helplessness manifested themselves in his strong words and emotions:

"How could (said school) do this to her? Don't they know how badly she wants to go there? I'm thinking of buying a plane ticket and telling them in person what a big mistake they've made."

Thankfully, he listened to reason, stepped off the ledge and definitely did not purchase that plane ticket. I told him that action would solidify her fate from waitlist candidate to outright rejection.

Hence, we discussed her viable options at that point and I reminded the father that the school did allow appeal letters as long as the letter conveyed new and compelling information.

We put our heads together and she fashioned an appeal that we all believed carried the appropriate message.

Several weeks pass by and I get a second call from the dad.

This time, instead of his daughter crying in her bedroom, there were screams of joy as they'd just received another college letter:

This time, the school said "Yes".

I was ecstatic for them and immediately professed my many congratulations.

Then I asked what she planned to do.

The father declared "Weeeell...we talked about it and we're not sure at this point. That school is quite far away and we're not sure she'll want to live that far away from home."

I politely bit my tongue and wished them good luck in her pending decision. I've always wondered if they realized how they could have saved a lot of heartache, energy and tears the first time around if only they remembered:

You can only go to one college.

This is one of the biggest reasons schools do not give away acceptance notices willy-nilly. They are keenly aware that while your ego, friends and/or parents would love for you to be accepted at 100% of the colleges you apply to, you will always be left with the crucial choice of selecting just one campus.

So enjoy this short respite from all the hard work you've put into completing your app obligations and try to temper the waiting period with a little common sense and perspective.

At the end of the day, getting accepted by 12 schools eventually simplifies to getting accepted by one school.

P.S. As far as our story's heroine goes, she chose to attend a school that was 14 miles from home.

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