Your application and essays have been submitted and your interviews are finished. Now what should you do?
The first thing is to take a deep breath and take a moment to reflect on all that you have accomplished. Before you put the entire process out of your mind, however, you have a few more tasks to complete.
First, check to make sure that all pieces of your application have been submitted, including teacher recommendation letters, transcripts, standardized test scores and personal recommendation letters. Ensure that you haven’t skipped any required pieces of the application, such as a graded writing sample or video essay submission.
I usually tell my clients to check Ravenna/SAO/school website about two weeks following the submission deadline. Enrollment offices are receiving massive amounts of paperwork at this time (even if it is all electronic) and they need to sort through all of the items coming their way. Give them these two weeks to get everything sorted before calling to follow up on your child’s application.
If you notice forms missing, you can always check in with your child’s current teacher(s) and school office before that two week point to ensure the items were submitted. This year, schools are more receptive of late documents (from teachers, not from families) and slow arriving test scores. Many schools have even allowed for standardized tests to be taken past the application deadline because of reduced testing options due to COVID. If pieces are still missing after a couple of weeks, contact the enrollment office and let them know that you have followed up with the appropriate individuals and the missing pieces should be arriving shortly.
During this time, attend any other admission activities offered by your schools, either in person or virtually if they are of interest to you. Continue to talk with current families about their experiences. Take a weekend walk or drive by each campus to get a better sense of the place.
Though tempting, I recommend not ranking the schools on your child’s list, as they may feel they have failed if not accepted to the number one school. If you have a clear first choice, you can write a first-choice letter to that school (and only that school) letting them know that if offered a spot, your child will DEFINITELY enroll. Be sure you are ready to commit when you send a first-choice letter; schools talk, and families have been blacklisted for insincere first-choice letters. In my experience, a school has never accepted a student because of a first-choice letter. A letter may persuade the committee between two similar student profiles, but more often it solidifies the decision the school has already made based on the other components in a student’s file.
If you do not have a clear first-choice school, do not fret. You can still send “love letters” to the schools on your list. Express your thanks for their part of the admission process and why that school continues to be such an appealing match for your family. For children in elementary school, these letters should be written by parents and by the student in middle and high school.
Have some sort of family celebration to acknowledge all of the hard work you have put in. Whether your children were active participants in the process or not, they have likely picked up on your stress over the last few weeks and months. Acknowledge that it was hard for you all and celebrate!
Finally, try to relax. Waiting can be the hardest part of the process and it may feel hard to sit back, but I encourage you to do so. Feel confident in the efforts you have put in over the last several months and know that no matter what happens, you have all grown through this process.