As we near the end of application season every year the thought comes to mind, “now I have seen it all.” Every year my seniors prove me wrong.
Once we agreed on the final list of colleges for this student; as a courtesy, I added to the list all the applications that could be submitted to each of the colleges. That little gesture had unintended consequences.
In the following meeting to check on the progress being made with applications to the 10 colleges on a list, I inquired about the choice of application for two of the schools. It was curious that only two of the 10 schools used the Coalition Application and both those schools also accepted the Common Application along with three others. I was all prepared to hear about the strategy that had been cooked up by some group of friends or the article that was floating around about the increased chances of getting in if this application was used instead of that one. The reality of the situation was something that I was totally unprepared to hear.
The answer was simply that the Coalition application seemed a good one to start with. That particular response did not compute. I was unable to build a bridge between my question and the answer that was given. I tried a more direct route, as I am prone to do when confused during a conversation. My next question was, ‘Why are you using the Coalition Application when only two of your colleges accept it and both those colleges also accept the Common Application?” The response to that question shed some light on the problem. This student responded that work on the Common Application for these two colleges would begin once she was done with the Coalition Application. This poor senior was under the impression that each college required completion of all the applications they accepted in order to be considered for admission. That realization evoked no emotion – only disbelief. As quickly and gently as I could, an explanation of how applications worked was given along with an apology for not anticipating the possible confusion.
This year, I will break from the tradition of thinking that I have seen it all. If 2020 has driven any point home, it is that few things are ever turn out the way you expect them to.