College Admissions: Waiting Is the Hardest Part


Words of wisdom and humor for high school seniors and their parents as they eagerly await college admission decisions:

College admission decisions for early admission plans are generally conveyed to high school students between mid-December and early February. Decisions for regular decision plan applications are generally rendered later and before April 1.

Despite the fact that admission decisions are not the measure of a young man’s or woman’s worth, academic potential or capacity as citizens, we often imbue this process with the power to define his or her success. Decisions received are seen as conveying and denying opportunity.

The reality is that there is no one right school for any student. Furthermore, there are wonderful opportunities for students at a large number of schools. Of course, what university the student attends matters. But an education is not conferred by virtue of place. Rather it is earned by the student through hard work, engagement, effort, and a willingness to grow, be challenged, take risks, and become engaged in the academic and extracurricular life of the community. What a student does in college and his or her interactions with faculty matter a lot. All of that, rather than the admission decision alone, will ultimately define his or her success.

As an educational consultant supporting students and their parents with the college search and application process, I use levity to inform. Thinking of how colleges market themselves caused me to construct a “personals ad” for a typical high school senior applying to college. If you see yourself or your own son or daughter in that profile, know that you are not alone!

Healthy kid. High school senior. Undecided about major and academic focus, but inclined toward the sciences. Has heard about your preference for students earning A’s in a rigorous curriculum; instead earned B’s. Enjoys playing cello, running, spending time with friends, not feeling too much pressure. Seeking same in liberal arts college for four years of learning, laughter and a sense of future direction.

Published in the Education Section of The Scarsdale Inquirer on January 18, 2013, and as “Advice on Awaiting College Decisions” in the February 14, 2013, issue of The Globe, the student newspaper of Mamaroneck High School.

The CEP is the Certified Educational Planner which Jane holds, and is the mark of distinction for independent educational consultants and high school counselors.

Jane Hoffman is a Certified Educational Planner (CEP). The CEP is the mark of distinction for independent educational consultants and high school counselors. It reflects the highest level of professional achievement and signifies extensive knowledge and commitment to the profession and to providing the highest quality of service to students and families. It is conferred only after demonstration of expanded institutional and professional knowledge.

CEPIECANACACJane Hoffman is an active member of a number of professional associations in college admissions and counseling, including the American Institute of Certified Educational Planners (AICEP), the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Jane is a graduate of IECA’s Practices and Principles Training Institute and adheres to IECA’s Principles of Good Practice. Since it is important to remain current, Jane frequently attends national conferences and participate in professional exchanges that provide the latest information on admission policies, practices, trends and developments. Jane regularly visit colleges and meets with admissions officers to learn about each school’s culture, educational programs, institutional priorities and admissions practices. Ongoing professional development activities also include taking courses online, completing webinars and consulting with colleagues.