Let’s Be Happy!

With all the hoopla regarding the sobering regular decision admission numbers at places like Penn and Duke and Harvard, let’s not forget the students who aren’t applying to those schools who also have worked hard in high school and on their applications. I’m just as happy for the senior boy who wanted to study engineering at Northeastern and was deferred from early action but got in during regular decision. I’m just as happy for the senior girl from a local Catholic school who was afraid she wouldn’t get in ANYWHERE, and now has a wealth of choices from which to decide. I am just as happy for the international student who is going to NYIT to study hospitality and the New York student who fell in love with his state university. And I am just as happy for the girl who reached for Vanderbilt, knowing she probably wouldn’t get in – and she didn’t – who last week visited the University of Michigan and fell in love!

Let’s be happy for these students. Let’s share their joy.

And yes, let’s commiserate with the strong students who reached for the moon, and as Bette Davis once famously said, have the stars. (Now, Voyager 1942). We know that these students will be stellar students; that they will be in honors programs; that they do great research; that they will find their paths; and that their lives will be happy or not, regardless of where they go to college. Let’s remind those students about the great teaching and resources at the colleges that did accept them; about the great scholarship of their peers at these institutions; and yes, about the merit money they are receiving. And of course, let’s remind them about the close friendships they will make, the places they will go, and the mentors they will meet.

Yes, the initial sting is tough, and for many students, not getting into certain colleges may be the first time that they have been majorly disappointed. But that disappointment need not and should not last. Let’s not forget to listen to them as they work through their disappointments – and then remind them not to look back but to look forward. That next step is going to be wonderful.