College Admissions: How to Survive While Your Kid Waits

Our eldest daughter is a high school senior this year and we are at that liminal phase between applications and acceptance. Trying with all my might to present a sanguine “que sera, sera, s’ok whatever happens” attitude to my daughter and the world requires more effort than I expected.

I have to put real exertion into not just picking up a phone and calling a college admissions office and saying, “So can you just give us a little update on what you’re thinking about her today? How about I throw out some percentages, and you can just cough when I get to the one that represents her likelihood of acceptance? 60%? 70% 100%? Did she tell you she’d been a camp counselor and got nominated for an award by her campers? I can text you a picture of the award!”

College admissions: waiting for a decision
How do you survive the wait for college admission’s decisions?

[Related: Getting into college is much harder than it used to be.  Here’s why.]

I really, truly don’t care where she’s going to college. There’s not a bad choice on her list. It’s just the suspense of not knowing where she’ll be that is killing me.

Years ago I learned that my dog always behaved better when he was worn out from a walk, so I know it’s best to keep myself busy. Herewith, a partial list of things I’ve done in the past month to distract myself from driving my daughter, the American university system, and myself crazy:

· Researched laundry bags.

· Created a spreadsheet of start dates of each of her schools so I can reverse engineer the dates for one final family summer vacation.

· Stared with sadness at the shoes in her closet that fit me but will accompany her to college next year.

· Stared with delight at the closet space that will be mine once she leaves, at least between her visits home.

· Corresponded about the minutiae of how her AP Physics course appears on her transcript with a high school guidance counselor who is surely wishing she’d gone into an easier field by now, like neurosurgery.

· Looked at the various school’s colors and compared which ones would do the most for my complexion, in case I need to cast some sort of deciding vote about where she goes.

· Pulled out her baby book and read it cover to cover. (NOTE: I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS.)

· Bought too many pairs of concert tickets for the months between January and June, since she’s my main concert-going companion. May need to hire a roadie or develop a coke habit to get to all of them.

· Interrupted her homework time to say, “I just want to hug you. Stop pushing me off. Ouch. Hug me back, like you mean it.”

· Threatened our younger daughter thusly: “It’s just you and us starting next year, kiddo!”

Nancy Davis KhoNancy Davis Kho is a writer in Oakland whose work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Toast, The Rumpus, and numerous humor anthologies. In 2014, she was selected by BlogHer as a “Voice of the Year” in the Humor Category, and was the inaugural champion of Oakland’s Literary Death Match. She teaches in the Professional Writing program at UC Berkeley Extension, and writes about the years between being hip and breaking one at




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