Parent Blog

So Sorry to Hear That: When Your #1 School Says ‘No’

by “Hannah Donovan,” Prospective Independent School Parent
I have several friends who were in my boat a few years ago. The waiting for an eternity (until early March) to learn which schools would “choose” them and which ones would cast them aside likes dogs in the street. 😉 Unfortunately, some parents live and die by where their children are accepted to private school. Please note, I did not say attend; I’m talking accepted.
What I’ve come to learn over the past few months is some families simply go through the process at certain schools, so they can say they were accepted. I guess that’s the cheapest way to “attend”. Other families put all their eggs in one basket where the sun rises and sets at their child attending one specific school.

If it happens that your child is not accepted to the #1 school, here are a few tips I’ve picked up along the way:

  1.  Do nothing for the first 24 hours. Don’t write dirty reviews on a review site. Don’t call the admission office and complain. Don’t write an e-mail to your cousin’s neighbor who happens to sit on their board. Just. don’t.
  2. Be honest with yourself. This was tough, but good advice. I know my kid is not perfect. She’s very shy and tough to communicate with when she’s nervous. I was told she had a good visit, but who’s going to give a parent negative feedback unless said student was a total disaster. While I’m sure my daughter was fine, I know she was likely not a standout reading at a 5th grade level or demonstrating her multilingualism (which is non-existent).
  3. Enjoy what’s in the glass. Let’s face it, if you in a position to apply for private education, you are in a pretty special place. Unless your little one is a total disaster, see #2, s/he probably was accepted to another school that is just as good in reality. Don’t opine for that school after they say no. One parent told me that a family at her child’s school was asked not to return after continued attempts to gain acceptance to their first choice school going so far as to ask the child’s teacher to write a personal letter to the other school.
  4. Learn from it. After the flood of calls from angry ‘No’ and wait list parents call the school with an even keel to ask ‘why’. Word of caution: Don’t call if you don’t really want to hear the answer.
  5. A famous NASA scientist used to tell his kids and grandkids this very important lesson: Life is not fair. The sooner you realize this, the better life will become…Rejection is a tough pill to swallow, but one we all need to face at some time in our life. I believe the sooner the better.

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