Senior Spring

It’s that time of the month… the season of highs and lows, when high school seniors anxiously check their e-mail for messages from various universities.  At my house, there is an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of things because H-J applied to ten different universities, and that’s how he rolls. As of 3pm yesterday, he had heard back from 8 out of 10 schools. He’s received acceptances from two of them, and has been wait-listed at four universities. Two schools sent a letter of non-acceptance (you can call it denial — H-J did). Clearly, some of these universities were a huge stretch. Of the two acceptance letters, one comes from his desired “safety” school and there is certainly no shame in choosing to attend there.

He’s been a rather big fish in a small pond at his high school here, where he’s been enrolled in a fantastic program headed by Cambridge University (yes, that Cambridge). It’s a blessing that it’s never gone to his head. Of the remaining two schools he has yet to hear from, one was chosen to be included due to its promise of full coverage of all fees if  he was accepted and if he put it as his first choice on the National Merit Scholarship list.  (Yes, H-J is NMS-level smart.) We are assuming that one will come through but we don’t know if he’s going to choose it in the end.

UW-Seattle
Univ. Illinois Urbana-Champagne
Princeton
MIT
Carnegie-Mellon
Cornell
Stanford
Cal-Tech 

Cal-Berkley
Arizona State

H-J doesn’t seem bothered at all by the unknown.  Sure, he would have really enjoyed heading off to his #1 choice in September, but that’s not going to happen. His #2 choice might happen… or it might not (he’s been wait-listed). No matter what, he’s been accepted at a good school with the program he desires. Life is good.

This particular teenager has learned to stretch beyond his comfort zone: from building sets for the school play to actually trying out for a part; from being an academic in the classroom to participating on the track team (where he never advanced beyond JV but continued to try to improve even after the season officially ended); from being a self-focused introvert to paying attention to other people and caring about them.
Yes, I am a proud mama.

Today’s Reader Questions:

When faced with choices, do you reach for the stars, out of your comfort zone or do you choose to work with the familiar and known?
Do you go with the “safe” choice or do you wait on what might be a better option?

 

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9 thoughts on “Senior Spring

  1. You ask some tough questions there. I think for the bulk of my life I have tended toward staying safe. But if I say, honestly, that being out of my comfort zone includes speaking in public, then I have gone outside the zone, because i believe in what I speak about.

    Your son’s school choices sound excellent. Those last three sound so w a r m!

  2. I tend towards safety, but every once in a while I bust out and do something challenging like belly dancing, doing something high up in the air, or speaking in public.

    Good luck to H-J!

  3. That’s an impressive list of schools. Even more impressive knowing how ridiculous the whole college application process has become.

    Just a little info that might be useful… I have friends both as post-grad students and also as faculty members at U of Illinois. Across the board, they all love that school. It’s good academically but with a good midwestern sensibility. They also offer good scholarships especially in their graduate and doctoral school programs. Sometimes there is something to be said for having the big college campus experience whiteout all the hoopla of trying to live on your own for the first time in a huge sprawling city. I’m sure he will be great wherever he goes!

  4. Even at 62 – minus 3 Days I’d opt for the unknown rather than the known. Which is not easy in a society where age and experience is in no way valued as highly as youth and youthful enthusiasm…or shall we say youthful ignorance?

  5. I tended more toward the safe when I was younger – at about 22 tried for something big and succeeded to a point. That gave me the courage to shake things up more – but not as much as I have advised my kids to do!

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