Writer’s Block: Thin Or Fat?

By Corinne Wnek

A very important question asked this time of the year is “What do you want for Christmas?” But that is not the only important question. If you are a parent of a senior in high school who has applied to college under the early action or early decision plan you might be asking, “Will the envelope be thin or fat?” because beginning next week, the first batch of college admission decisions will be sent out to students. What your child really wants for Christmas is admittance to his or her first choice school.

It wasn’t all that long ago that everyone applying to college knew they would hear their admission news by April 1. But smart marketing strategies by many colleges and universities changed that sole benchmark date so that students could now be admitted or denied admission to college as early as December of their senior year in high school.

For some students, seeing a ‘fat’ envelope is a sign of good news. In addition to the welcoming letter from the college, there is usually other forms enclosed that have to do with accepting the offer, housing and scholarship or financial aid information. After all, how much paper does it take to say, “We’re sorry, but due to the high volume of applications we received….”?

But once in a while, a college will send out a ‘thin’ envelope with good news in it. They go on to explain that the student has been admitted to the school and once they make a commitment to attend, that is, send in a hefty check to hold a place in class, the admission office will send additional information to them.

The work of high school counselors starts to ramp up as soon as admission decisions start to filter in. For many students, this might be the first time that they will be refused something they want, often due to factors out of their control. For others, they will see the result of their hard work and sacrifice pay off. Still for other students, they will learn that just wishing for something is not enough in the college admission game.

In any case, most students ultimately come to realize that even ‘thin’ envelopes with disappointing news could have an upside. It means that they have to think about the college acceptances they do have and perhaps discover some things about another school that they might have overlooked before when they were over reaching or prestige shopping.

Santa might be busy up at the North Pole these days but his crews of college admission elves down here are working in overdrive as they try to make good decisions about who will be admitted to their school. Sure, there will be disappointments. But in the end, most students find reasons to embrace an alternative college. That kind of wisdom doesn’t come in any size envelope.

It might just come from your school counselor.

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