Wednesday was May First. For workers around the globe, it was May Day. But for high school seniors, this is college decision day. The day students declare their allegiance to what will be -- if all goes according to plan -- their alma mater and go off to school dressed head to foot in branded spirit wear. But getting to this point has been an education in its own right. And as the parent of one of these high school seniors, I have learned a thing or two.
First, the process takes longer than you think. We began two years ago and that was not soon enough. During college visits, I was surprised to see freshmen in the information sessions. I thought this was premature. It is not.
Second, fake it ‘til you make it. The admissions process requires 16-year-olds to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives. They obviously do not. You know this, they know this, the colleges and universities know this. But for the sake of the application, we all have to pretend and participate in what is arguably a fictional performance and fantasy.
Third, there is little or nothing about the decision that is rational. You can make lists. You can create spreadsheets. But these determinations tend to be more about how things feel than about the information and data.
Finally at the end of it all, you’re just beginning. The next four to five years will be just as interesting, emotional, and expensive.
I’m David Gunkel, and that’s my perspective.