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Posted at 7:50 AM ET, 03/ 1/2010

For seniors, March is most anxious month

By Valerie Strauss

My guest is college admissions consultant Bruce Vinik, president of Vinik Educational Placement Services, Inc., in Cabin John, Md.

By Bruce Vinik
March is the only month that is longer than 31 days. It’s a fact. Ask almost any high school senior who has applied to college; he or she will tell you that March is the longest month of the year.
As late winter turns into early spring, the anxiety level around the country is about to spike as 12th graders await news from colleges. This can be a difficult few weeks for students who want nothing more than to rip open those envelopes (or emails) to discover what the college gods have in store for them.

There was a time when April 1st was the obsessive focus of attention for high school seniors; this was the date when students rushed home from school to rifle through their mailboxes in search of those cherished thick envelopes. It was an American rite of passage.

But times have changed.

More and more colleges are releasing their decisions (often electronically) in March. What will begin as a slow trickle during the next few days will turn into a raging river by the final week of the month.

For the majority of students, the angst of March will subside as good news rolls in. There’s nothing like a couple of acceptance letters to lighten the mood. There may be some disappointment along the way; after all, even straight A students won’t get in everywhere. But seniors who applied to a range of colleges will typically end up with some very fine choices.

And those individuals who are not accepted by their favorite schools need not despair. I have worked with thousands of students over the years and almost all of them have been happy wherever they ended up, even if it was not at one of their top choices.

A successful experience in college is far more dependent upon what students do during their undergraduate years than where they go to school. Just ask the millions of college grads who have not attended Harvard. After all, it’s college. What’s not to like?

Bruce Vinik, president of Vinik Educational Placement Services, Inc., in Cabin John, Md., worked for 25 years in schools. At private Georgetown Day School, he served as director of college counseling, director of admissions and financial aid, and as assistant middle school principal. He was the high school principal at private Barrie School in Maryland, and has taught history, English and math at the middle and high school levels.

Follow my blog all day, every day by bookmarking And for admissions advice, college news and links to campus papers, please check out our new Higher Education page at it!

By Valerie Strauss  | March 1, 2010; 7:50 AM ET
Categories:  Bruce Vinik, College Admissions, Guest Bloggers  | Tags:  college admissions  
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As an educational consultant, I sense the anxiety in the seniors with whom I have just worked. Rejection is difficult and many see a college turning them down as a personal affront. Students need constant reassurance that colleges make decisions based on many different factors, most of them subjective. There are many areas that students have no control over. I do agree, however, that the experience in college is far more important than the name of the school. Students should make every effort to take advantages of all of the opportunities they have in their new colleges or universities. That is what will make a difference in their futures.

Susie Watts
Denver, Colorado

Posted by: collegedirection | March 2, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

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