When the HS and the College have had a Conflict..

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: When the HS and the College have had a Conflict..
By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:15 pm: Edit

Two days ago I was presented with a dilemma by my son's college counselor. Evidently, last year a student at our school submitted an ED application at one school, and started a regular application at another at the same time. When the student was accepted ED, he/she did not actively withdraw the other application-- but evidently thought he/she had not completed it! Nonetheless, the student was accepted RD at the second school (a prestigious institution). "Discussion" ensued between the counselor at our school and the Adcom member at the other school regarding whether or not the application had indeed been completed, etc. etc.-- and evidently the discussion did not conclude in an entirely harmonious manner.

The counselor at our school indicated this could impact the college's perception of our school, and hence of potential applicants like my son.

I have not shared this information with my son. He is keen on this school, and it is a good fit for him- and a place he has legacy status..But, we are trying to winnow his list a bit, and I am not sure what to do in light of this new knowledge.

Any thoughts on this, how to mitigate the damage or whatever??? Not worry about it and plow on as if I were ignorant (I was told this with all best intent, I am sure...)???

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:24 pm: Edit


It would be too bad if your S missed out on a good fit because of some misunderstanding.

I assume the GC shared this info with you? It's really up to the GC to try to mend fences with the adcom by writing that the contretemps over the other student should not in any way affect your S and that he undertakes to ensure that should your S be accepted, any RD application in the works will be rescinded pronto.

By the way, this is a real lesson for all the posters who have been wondering how adcoms can tell whether they are observing the spirit and the letter of ED procedures.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:35 pm: Edit

I have to say I was a bit perturbed to feel he was laying this problem on me and my son. I have no idea where fault lies in this situation (it is frightening but realistic to think it might be with our college counseling office!)- and I have to focus on my son, not this issue.

My inclination is to definitely not inform my son, and let chips fall where they may as to whether or not this school makes the "final cut"-

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, August 12, 2004 - 09:43 pm: Edit


I'm with you on this. There is no sense making your S feel anxious over something that is not under his control. If that school turns out to be your S's choice, then you can go back to the GC and ask him to support your S in any way he can. He has to mend fences with the college, after all; he might as well do so for your S!

By Xiggi (Xiggi) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 01:35 am: Edit

From reading between the lines, I believe that the problem starts and ends with your GC. If he was aware of any RD applications that followed the ED acceptance, he bears full responsibility for the problem. His only discussions with the college should have contained nothing but apologies.

I would recommend to write directly to the admission director of the "offended" school but not before extracting from your GC the right to review ALL rec letters he will send to schools. I would not hesitate to discuss the situation with your school's principal and make sure that no retaliation will take place at your school.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 04:12 am: Edit


I honestly don't know, and can't change, whatever happened last year. I am inclined to feel that it is in the best interest of all potential applicants if I encourage the GC- in whom I have a lot of faith- to approach this situation as an advocate for my child and if we just make sure all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted. I appreciate your perspective and suggestions, but in the culture I live (which informs the culture of the school as well) approaches which are even slightly confrontational in nature are rarely effective- My son will certainly be proactive about his interest in the school(as you suggest)- and hopefully, if he decides to apply, his application and interest will be compelling.

By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 05:57 pm: Edit

Robrymt, though I agree that the GC has a responsibility in this matter, particularly since it will involve other future applicants, I also strongly believe that one has to be one's onw advocate. I think this is a situation that your son needs to know if he is going to put together the most effective case for himself when he fills out the application to this school. He should take the bull by the horns and send out the app with a cover letter letting the college know that it is his first choice, that despite the issue that arose between the school and the college, he is hoping to get a fair appraisal given the integrity of the college. The alum involved should send a separate letter to the admissions office addressing this issue as well. The letters should be gracious and nonconfrontational, but I do believe the situation needs to be addressed.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:42 pm: Edit

Actually, Jamimom, that would feel comfortable... I think I will wait out the decision on whether or not he will apply (90% sure at this point) and let him make that decision irrespective of this event.

I think this is a situation where I, as a supportive alumna of the school, would definitely also write a letter in that vein as well-- as the school clearly is interested in the support of their alums!

By A2a2 (A2a2) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 08:52 pm: Edit

I think your son should be allowed to make his decision about applying or not without being influenced by this information. You certainly don't want to communicate that there is no point in trying because of a situation that had nothing to do with him. That's a troubling message for a young person. I like the approach of working through your GC, but encouraging your son to make his own case directly to the school with support from other recs and alumni. In written evaluations, I'm inclined to believe that GCs write one generic recommendation - so it's not like you're asking him to do anything special. I'm almost positive that there were few or no conversations between my kid's GC and adcoms.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, August 13, 2004 - 09:46 pm: Edit

I didn't sense from the GC that any new conversations were planned, the implication was that we(my child and I) should do what we could to mitigate the issue. I am completely sure a wonderful recommendation will be written for my son, but will probably remind the GC that it represents one way for our school to ameliorate the backlash of whatever has happened.

By Julibean008 (Julibean008) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit

Woah, TELL YOUR SON! It is kind of his life, and he is probably around 18... and you should really trust that he will be able to handle the situation. I'm actually confused about why you were contacted about the situation and not your son. It seems like it's majorly his business.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit


After he decides (if he decides) to definitely apply to the school...after he writes all the essays, etc...then I will suggest he write an additional.."I love...school, and I am sure that I will get a fair reading in spite of those events" letter. But, Until he decides he is definitely going to apply, I am not going to worry him! I agree, it is his life, but he- like all seniors- has a lot on his plate right now (school has already started here!!)...Thanks!

By A2a2 (A2a2) on Saturday, August 14, 2004 - 09:07 pm: Edit

Julibean, it isn't that he shouldn't be told - just that the information shouldn't influence his decision to apply or not - and maybe the best way to do that is to tell him after he's had a chance to evaluate the school and decide if he likes it enuf to apply. Do you really want to discourage a kid from applying someplace because a couple of "grown-ups" got into a fight? After he decides, then I'd tell him and work together to develop a strategy to get around bad the GC-Adcom relationship. If he wants to back out at that point, it's his call - but I'd be really disappointed if he gave up without a fight. The risk in applying is low - $75 for the application fee, a little time - and the rewards could be great. I don't know that my advice would be any different if he were an adult, BTW. Why make someone worry if there's no need?

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 12:10 am: Edit

Thanks, agreed. The one complication, of course, is that since our school only permits 8 applications, if I perceived that my son was being unfairly disadvantaged, would I be remiss in not letting him factor this into his decision?? I think not, I think if he really loves the school- we just figure out how to make the situation work for us, rather than against us!!

By Marite (Marite) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 06:26 am: Edit


This is one situation where your school ought to be flexible in exercizing its 8 apps rule!

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 06:35 am: Edit

Gee, I think you might be right about that. I had been looking for a good reason, in fact. The thing is, the rule is "8 applications to US colleges." So what happens is that the Canadian, Indian, European, Korean, etc kids often apply to only the most selective US schools - figuring that if they don't get into "top top" US schools, they will go to the much cheaper schools back home. As such, most of them submit more than 8 total applications- 8 in the US, then however many at home. The inequity is obvious to American parents, especially those whose kids do not apply to the UC system (where one application "counts" for many schools)...My son has 11 schools on his list right now, and while I am sure we could get it down to 8, 9 would be better...and more equitable!! Great thought, thanks..

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 08:45 am: Edit

Wow this is interesting. You are so lucky your guidance counselor actually went to all this trouble!I would forget it.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit

BHG- as in not worry about it at all? The GC is a very nice guy and we have good rapport(the school is not huge he tends to about 200 students total, 1/3 of whom are seniors). Nonetheless...can I really just forget it? I really don't know what happened (and never will I presume) but who knows what the Adcom on the other end is thinking about our school!

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 09:53 am: Edit

Humm.......if you are 'in', then what futher is there to discuss?Do you actually have the admission letter in hand? Also, how did child get accepted so early? Isn't this early for EA and regular admission? You know Robyrm; you are a really bright lady. I think any school would be honored to have your child. I think having your child at their school would be more important than a guidance counselor's bad day.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:06 am: Edit

BHG, sorry if I wasn't clear...my Child hasn't applied, this all happened last year with another kid...sorry for the confusion, and thanks for the kind words.

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit

If child is going to the school I wouldn't bring it up further. But if I were you I would donate something. I'd call the person who the guidance counselor spoke with an say,"Remember us? Such a fine university, I'd like to donate a ---- . Whom would I speak with about this?"I don't think this would make any difference whatsoever concerning your child receiving aid or scholarship but it would make the people in the office really like you. Like here is a lady who really appreciates this fine institution!You would be surprised how one $100 gift can really open doors.(But maybe you have already done this and know too.)

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:26 am: Edit

BHG- as I said, he hasn't applied yet! Since I am an alumna of the school, they have already received some of my money..the question is how much they will receive next year!!

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit

Oh I see!! Sorry!
ooh.......yes, that is difficult.Look into legacy admits and find someone at the U. who can guide you with this.There must be someone who can smooth this over for you.This shouldn't be your responsibility. There must be a liasion.Call the people who publish the Alum magazine, I would think for a start to fine someone.
By the way. I like to donate trees. It's very satisfying for me to to see my tree growing in different areas and know I put it there.Of course trees die also.So then I have it replaced and supervise the planting.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 10:37 am: Edit

BHG- yes, this is the strategy I plan to use if he decides to apply...since it is a school that clearly values its Alums!

By Backhandgrip (Backhandgrip) on Sunday, August 15, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit

In fact, if you do not know another Alum who is on the board or affiated in some way, I would write a letter to the Admissions Dean explaining how much the college and your years there meant to you and how the high school guidance counselor may have allienated the admissions counselor. Sometimes, all the school needs to know is how much it all means to you. I remember when my oldest son went to college he had a professor who I had 25 yrs earlier and that professor asked how I was and even remembered my first name!

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