How to Talk to Your Child about December Admissions

Deferred? Rejected? Accepted ED?

We’ve been working with middle and high school students for over seventeen years (about as long as our current seniors have been alive!), which means we’ve been through seventeen Decembers in which many of our students go through the process of hearing back from their “ED” schools. Here’s our advice for what to do once your kid hears back:

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1.  Tell us all about it--we can help!

We have had the pleasure of being a part of your child's educational process (sometimes for years!), and we aren't done just because your child is done with the ACTs and that tricky Chemistry class. We want to celebrate successes with notes of pride and care, and we want to help your children integrate sadness and anxiety so that they can process and move on confidently. If we know what is going on, we can help, especially since we all know that teenagers often avoid talking to parents in particularly difficult times. 

2.  Rejection is painful--give your child space and validation!

Rejected? Watching your child suffer is never easy, and as parents we all find it tempting to try to take away that pain, but tolerating rejection (and moving on from it) builds grit and leaves our children better prepared to face adulthood. Validating that rejection hurts (“I see how hard this is” or “Of course you feel upset and angry right now”) will help your child feel heard and loved, and giving them space to feel those unpleasant feelings will allow them to more easily move on.

3.  Deferrals mean choices--strategize!

Deferred from Princeton? Not sure what to do next? Many of our kids who are deferred decide to apply “ED 2” if they love a school who offers that option. Others shift their lists slightly to include a few more safety schools. All of our seniors should stay focused on keeping strong grades (even those kids who are in!), but a deferral provides more choices based on what your child truly wants and what safeguards you want to put in place. 

4.  Accepted ED? Let’s celebrate...with empathy for others! 

We are excited to celebrate with you, and celebrating with those grown-ups who have watched you grow is the perfect outlet for that well-earned excitement. We do encourage students to be aware that some of their peers are struggling, and providing an outlet at home for their happiness is a great way to ensure that they feel great and have empathy for those who might not.  


Unsure about how to manage your child’s emotions around admissions? Just want to chat with a compassionate grown-up who cares about your kid? We are here to help.

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