Preparing for College

Appealing a "Dream School" Denial

Question: My son received a rejection letter from Fordham (his dream school). As you can imagine, as a parent, I feel helpless and want to help. I called the school and asked about their appeal process. They told me that they rarely overturn their decision. I've committed to writing an appeal letter on behalf of my son and wanted some advice. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Is a heartfelt or factual letter better? Please help.

My condolences on your son's Fordham news. As a parent myself, I know how painful it can be to endure a child's disappointment. In a minute I'll give you the appeals suggestions you request, but--before I do--I'm going to make you suffer through one other important suggestion. I know you want desperately to help your son right now, but, truly, the best help you can give him is to help him to move on. Learning to face disappointments and rise above them is a valuable life lesson ... perhaps more useful than anything your son will learn in college, whether at Fordham or elsewhere. Certainly many teenagers become focused on the idea of a "dream school," but we adults should realize that there's not a single perfect college for anyone.

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