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Random Number vs Specific Name

February 14th, 2012 at 08:47 am

My oldest daughter took the admisisons test for a highly ranked parochial school in my state (one of the best). There were 504 students vying for 330 spots, of which 75% were legacy (essentially meaning you go to the head of the line if you have a sibling, parent or grandparent alum). Daughter suffers from test anxiety despite being a solid mostly A, few B student. She studied for about a month and knew that it was highly competitive. She did not get in. Oh, the heart-ache of the child. I talked to the Admissions Director first thing yesterday to find out that she was nothing more than a number. The number on the test that scored in the band of "we need to see other evidence of academic success", but due to the limited number of spots availble, she was not wait-listed and granted a "no thank you". I should add that my brother is a graduate success story of this high school and once his name is linked with her name and she is more than a number, she will most likely gain admittance. So much so that the Admissions Director said "Tell your daughter there isn't anything to prevent her from getting a diploma from *****." and we ended it with "We'll talk." But that is at quarter end or semester end of freshman year. Daughter must be content with that.

So, after talking to the Admissions Director at her desired school, I give a call over to the other paochial school, where I am an alumni and she has legacy. They tell me not to worry, get her paperwork over and in, and she's theirs. Daughter isn't keen on this, but her scholarship will have to travel with her and she'll have to be diligent.

The two things required for this (1) a spot at first place desired school (which people do actually leave because of the rigorous academics), and (2) a solid GPA. Add to that patience from the mother to help her daughter navigate this stressful time.

I overheard her saying to her friend on the phone last night, "It will be nice when they look at me as a name, not a number."

I told this to my brother and he laughed and said, "I know how she feels. At this point I am nothing more than a piece of paper applying for one spot along with a gazillion more. It would be nice to be a name."

So the lesson learned from this: it helps to have a back-up plan (in this case a mother who can give you legacy to the place you plan on landing momentarily before you take flight.) and the journey to a high and solid GPA begins.

The first $ in this endeavor was the $30 application fee to runner-up school. And it would be nice if they did away with legacy and let each person be evaluated on their own merits. But then again, I think someone once said it isn't what you know, but who you know.

2 Responses to “Random Number vs Specific Name”

  1. Buckeye Says:

    We have a similar male institution in my city. Though the tuition is ridiculously high, they have a waiting list. My two sons graduated from there but one was on scholarship, while the other worked to help pay his way.
    Is the public school that bad? Where we are located the
    public school is excellent,three of my girls went there.

  2. anonymous Says:

    You might want to factor in whether your daughter's attendance also helps her younger siblings get into the desired schools. Maybe at one it does and at the other it does not.

    When I was an 8th grader I took the admissions exams for Catholic high schools in our diocese. I had no interest in attending. I just took the exam because Mom told me to. We could not afford an iota of tuition. It turned out I got the highest score in the diocese and was given a free ride. I was sad because they did not offer the language I wanted, but Mom said I should go there. In a way, I think that school saved my life (!) and what's more, my sibs got to attend later based on sibling priority and they were given nearly free tuition, too, due to our low family income level.

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