College Application Help Line Available

We all need a little help sometimes.

This is a big week in the college application process. Successful early applicants may be able to say goodbye to the process for now, while deferred and rejected applicants may have lots of questions about what happens next. If you're still applying regular decision, you're probably working hard to finish those essays before the January 1 deadline so that you can actually enjoy some of your holiday break. Wherever you are in the process, The New York Times Choice Blog has made a live college application help line available this week.

Marie Bigham, a former college admissions officer and college counselor at Greenhill School in Texas, will be answering questions Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. Eastern time. For those who won't be able to tune in, a transcript of the session will be posted on The Choice Thursday morning.



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Finding the Silver Lining in the College Admissions Process

Whichever direction you take, move forward with head held high

Kayla Webley of Time magazine offers excellent advice in this article for students still fraught with anxiety over their recently opened round of life-changing college admissions letters. While experiencing either a profound sense of relief or grief depending on the outcomes is natural, it is important to evaluate how much of our emotional reactions are based in reality.

Laurence Steinberg, author and professor of psychology at Temple University, describes how students take a rejection from a college personally. “When they’re rejected it’s like being rejected by a boyfriend or girlfriend. They internalize it: What’s the matter with me? What could I have done differently? Why did they choose that person and not me?” There is no doubt that a rejection letter can draw deep feelings of inadequacy quickly to the surface, but all is far from lost.

It is clear that your future potential has much less to do with where you go to college and much more with how you perform while you’re there. Webley sites one study in which students rejected from their top choices go on to earn on average the same wages as their Ivy League peers. Further, a highly motivated student standing out at a less competitive college can be far more impressive than an Ivy grad who has failed to distinguish herself during her four years. In summary, your success is far from determined. A safety school can provide infinite opportunities for future success. So the best thing to do, if you want to find the silver lining in an arduous admissions process, is to stop looking back, and move forward with head held high knowing that you will give your all to whatever school you decide to attend.