College Acceptance Letter Etiquette

High schools students have started receiving college acceptance letters.

A student writing on The New York Times’ college blog today suggests that teenagers shouldn’t brag when they start getting acceptance letters. Specifically, she believes that sharing college admission news on Facebook is in poor taste.

The freshman at Northwestern argues that bragging about college acceptances will crush the spirits of students who receive rejection letters.

This particular college blog post interested me because this week my son Ben told me that lots of kids have been hearing from colleges. So far, Ben has heard back from one school with an acceptance and a $48,000 merit scholarship. While Ben didn’t say anything, I could tell he was wondering why he has yet to hear back from any other colleges.

It’s only natural that teenagers are going to compare themselves to others, which is why I think The New York Times blogger, who suggests keeping the good news quiet, is unrealistic. Kids are going to talk about college acceptances. They’ve been working for four years to receive these affirmations from colleges and they are going to want to crow.

It’s easy for a parent when their teenagers receive positive news, but kids really need their close friends and parents for support when the verdict is a thumb’s down. Parents might want to prepare in advance for what they might say if a college or colleges turn down their child. It’s important, of course, for teenagers to realize that a rejection says nothing about them personally.

Hearing others crow about their acceptance letters could actually help students who are still waiting. It could spur them to inquire if schools are sitting on incomplete admission packages. That’s what happened to my son. Ben’s former girl friend heard back from a school with an acceptance and a scholarship that he had also applied to. When a couple of weeks went by and Ben still hadn’t heard anything, he checked and discovered that the school hadn’t received his supplemental application.

If your child hasn’t heard from a school when others are getting admission notifications, he or she should contact the school to make sure the admission office has all of  the information it needs to make a decision. And good luck.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch.

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