Your Kid Got Rejected From Their Top Choice School ... Now What?

RejectionMiddle school for my daughter has been a test of my patience and a gauntlet of challenges for her. There’s just something about this 11 to 13 age bracket that is funky and awkward and, on my end, baffling. Now she’s in her last year, down to the home stretch of this pre-teen weirdness. It was bittersweet to drop her off on that first day because, this time next year, I’ll be giving a high schooler a lift and watching her walk in. Un-freakin’-believable.

But before we get that far, I’m bracing myself for the application process to actually get into high school. Since she’s at a Catholic institution now, we’re looking at two Catholic high schools that would be good for her academically and developmentally. The Girl didn’t give 100 percent for most of her two years of middle school, though, and I’m scared sister girl is going to get her feelings hurt when it’s time to hear the verdict about whether she got in or not.

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So far, she’s impressed me with the power of her positive thinking. We believe in speaking things into existence in our household, so she’s all “when I get in” and “when I go,” which is great. I don’t want her to feel like she has to doubt her chances and let negative thoughts consume her positive ones. That’s a mama’s job anyway — I’m doing her worrying and praying for her.

It’s not that Miss Thang wouldn’t be an asset to either student body. She could’ve been an asset to the one she’s part of now. But something shifted after 4th grade that made her grades drop and her attitude about school become, in a word, crappy. She didn’t have a desire to succeed. She’s been distracted, unmotivated, and, Lord have mercy, has she ever been scatterbrained. I’ve been at the school almost as much as a member of the adjunct staff.

There have been times that I’ve cried in conversation with her, begging her to take her future more seriously because she was going to regret not doing her homework and assignments when it was time to apply to high school, let alone college. She was limiting her own self, I pleaded.

There were other times that I sobbed, imploring her to give me a break because, as the sole breadwinner for our household, I was doing the best I could to give her opportunities I didn’t have at her age and that I was paying almost six grand a year for her to go to that school — and hustling like a wild woman to keep her there. “Think about that when you’re not doing your work or when you get the urge to turn around and talk when Mrs. Williams is teaching,” I said.

And in between, I’ve been mad, I’ve sworn I was going to fall back and just let her walk the plank and tumble down below, and pull her out of the school she’s been in because I’d be darned if I was going to keep shelling out my hard-earned cash for an unappreciated education. I had the child tested for ADHD, took away all of her privileges and electronic thingamajigs for almost six months, and talked to some of her teachers so regularly we started texting each other.

Then this year, a breakthrough. I scraped money together to enroll her in formal dance training since she loves to dance and studies show that girls who dance have higher self-esteem. I’m not too proud to admit that I’m also sending her to a therapist because my baby girl, spunky, sweet, and capable as she is, is carting around a ton of baggage that’s been at least one reason behind her poor performance in school. But even before this new program went into play, she came back from summer vacation with a better, can-do attitude about her education. Teachers have noticed and mentioned it. I’ve noticed and congratulated her.

But will pulling out a few improved semesters in her 8th grade year be enough to convince the admissions committees at her wannabe high schools to let her in? We have a few months to wait. I’m nervous they’ll only see her for the student she’s been and not the one she’s trying to become. And to be fair, I can see why they’d pass judgment. But I’m also prepared with a Plan B just in case she doesn’t get in — and a pep talk to keep her encouraged and determined to work the hell outta high school.

What can you do to help your kid get over the rejection of not getting into the high school or college they wanted to get into?


Image via PinkStock Photos!/Flickr

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