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Is This Carrying Things Too Far?

A colleague sent a link to this article in the NY Post about some high schools instituting guidelines about how seniors should announce their college acceptances and choice.

To quote the article, “In an attempt to ease the blow of a student’s first big rejection, New York prep schools are instituting dress codes and Facebook guidelines barring excited seniors from broadcasting their acceptance to top-tier colleges because it would hurt their classmates’ feelings.”

The article goes on to say that they have asked students not to wear college apparel until after May 1, which is the universal date for accepting college admission.

OK, I am not in favor of any one at any age that gloats but this is too much.  First of all, we can’t and we shouldn’t protect kids from every negative thing that happens. We need to teach resilience and convey that they are strong enough for disappointments and adversity that will surely come to everyone at some point in their lives.  And second, I am pretty sure that most kids, or at least those who are interested in knowing other people’s business, already know who got in and where.  This reminds me of when my children were young and playing T-Ball. The coaches didn’t want anyone to feel bad so they didn’t count the runs. Some kids were oblivious and for the ones to whom this mattered, they counted the runs on their own. They knew who won and who didn’t even if the games were called a tie.

I agree that it is perfectly reasonable to teach students how to convey one’s own good news in a polite manner that doesn’t trample on others’ feelings. No one wants to hear “I got in to Wedontwant U! In your face!”  But is a student run(ing) around yelling, ‘I got in! I got in!’” really that out of line?

There comes a point when every teen has to realize that there are times when everyone doesn’t come out on top. Certainly by the end of senior year students should be prepared to accept their own college acceptances and rejections and to hear others’ decisions too.  Some admissions decision may come as a surprise and some may be expected. But we can’t protect them from reality, no matter how well intentioned.

Janet Rosier