It is vitally important to celebrate Ivy League acceptances. We’ve said it before. We shall say it again. When students call and write us to let us know of their acceptances to Ivy League schools (and other highly selective universities), one of the first questions we typically ask is, “How did you react?” And then we ask, “And how did your parents react?” We like to know these things! We’re with our students and parents throughout the whole stressful college admissions process so we want to know! Once the Ivy League acceptances come in, we always tell our students to go out and celebrate (safely and legally of course). And we encourage our parents to go out to a four-course dinner. We firmly believe in celebration. The highly selective college admissions process is full of so much stress that when great news comes in, it must be celebrated. It must!
We had a parent of a student a few years ago whose child got into Yale, Princeton, and Columbia, but the student was waitlisted at Harvard. The mother was deeply stressed out about how her child could get off the waitlist at Harvard. We would have none of this. None of it! We told her that now was not the time to stress out about trying to get off the Harvard waitlist and that getting into Yale, Princeton, and Columbia, among other highly selective universities must be celebrated and it must be celebrated right there and then! Yes, we can help them with trying to get off the Harvard waitlist, but that can wait until the next day.
There are a finite number of joyous moments on this kind of scale in life. We make sure our parents appreciate these moments. We consider it our duty, our moral obligation. Celebration is important. Yale, Princeton, and Columbia wanted this student to attend their respective universities. Harvard was a “maybe.” Appreciate those who say “yes” in life. It’s ok to want the “maybes” but when those who say “yes” are the likes of Yale, Princeton, and Columbia, appreciate them. Love them. Because they’re special. If you see the analogy in dating, we do too. Appreciate those who like you and enjoy it. Don’t always hold out hope for the one with tepid interest. And, by the way, this student we’ve been referring to got off the Harvard waitlist in the end. And the student went to Harvard. If that undercuts part of our argument, so be it! But the larger point is to appreciate each wonderful moment in the admissions process…because these moments are deserving of celebration! And even though that student got into Harvard and the whole family celebrated this moment later on, they still remembered the celebration the day the student got into Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. We’re all for lots of celebration. It’s important.