We went to a financial-aid info meeting at the high school this week. If you have not yet attended a college-planning meeting at a high school, let me assure you of this: there will always, always, ALWAYS be at least one parent who uses the meeting to brag about their child. They’ll raise their hand to ask a question, and somehow the setting-up of this question will require a little humblebrag. And if the leader says, “Has anyone received any MERIT-based aid?,” this parent will pipe up “With every single package!,” as if we might want to take the opportunity for a little smattering of impressed applause.
Anyway. We have only heard back from one of the dozen colleges Rob applied to, so it was a little unsettling to hear so many other parents discussing all the acceptances and scholarships. The speakers told us how lucky we were that this was the first year for the new earlier admissions process. I can’t think about it too much, or I start envisioning a future with two piles of letters: one a pile of acceptances, all from expensive schools, none with any financial aid offers; the other, a pile of rejections. Perhaps a third pile of “Oops, you did something wrong with the application, so you paid the application fees but didn’t actually successfully apply.”
I have a tip, incidentally, if the whole college-planning stage is still ahead: don’t put off the things you will need to spend money on. Replace the windows, paint the house, fix the roof, replace the ancient car that will give out any day now. They don’t expect you to sell your house or car to pay for college, but they do expect you to clear out the savings account—and “But that’s earmarked for braces/windows/garage” butters no toast.
Oh, oh, oh! Another college-application-related thing. So, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this rumor or if it’s even true, but the idea is that acceptances come in a BIG envelope (because they send you a bunch of other materials), and the rejections come in a regular business envelope (because it’s just one sheet of paper). In the last month, we have received TWO big and SEVEN small envelopes from colleges he’s applied to, and NONE of them were acceptances or rejections. They have all been things such as reminders that we can check application status online, reminders about deadlines to apply if we have not already done so, and advertising materials. This seems tone-deaf to the point of cruelty. They MUST KNOW that right now students and their families are opening mailboxes every day with pounding hearts, so WHY OH WHY the terrible fake-outs??