Seniors: Sound Bites for the Notification Noise

As you receive news from the colleges to which you've applied, there can be a lot of noise -- and interference. Inquiring minds want to know if you’ve heard from the colleges, what you heard from the colleges, where you will be going to college. Oh, and how about your friends, the class president, the quarterback, and the kid down the street? Some of this is genuine interest in you and some of it is nosiness and the rest is thinly veiled status competition.

When we wrote our book, we asked Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes— the inspiration for the hit movie Mean Girls— and an expert on teens and parenting, for her advice about talking the talk during this step in the college admission process. Here's here advice -- including some very useful sound bites:

When other parents ask questions, be polite but you don’t have to respond at length. “Yeah, I got in, I’m really proud of it. I am looking forward to next year. And thank you so much for your good wishes.” Saying “And thank you so much for your good wishes,” tends to politely close that conversation down. If the person continues to ask questions or compares your experience to other students’, say, “Thanks for your interest, but I don’t feel comfortable talking about where others got in. It can be a sensitive topic for a lot of people, so I want to respect that.”

What if an adult is going on and on about your good news by saying things like, “That’s incredible! How did you get in? I heard that there were twenty- four thousand applications for four spots!” That entire conversation needs to be nixed immediately by both student and parent. And of course the parent should be the person to take the lead on that. But an eighteen- year- old can say, “I’m glad I got in but a lot of people who are just as worthy as I am didn’t.” And then change the subject to something like an upcoming event at school.

For more information about admission decisions, including more sound bites for parents and what to do if you're waitlisted, see Chapter 17, “Notification and Making the Decision" in College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step.

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