Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Better Things

Today is a sad day at USD and represents the really difficult side of selective college admissions.  It is the day we begin sending out deny letters to our freshman applicants.  For thousands of students, the dreaded “small envelop” will mean disappointment and one less option they can consider. 

USD received over 14,200 applications for our freshman class this year.  Since we can only hope to enroll about 1120, our admissions team has had to make some very difficult decisions.  Choosing a class from so many wonderful young people is hard and, unfortunately, we often turn away students who certainly look “admissible,” meaning they have grades, scores, and experiences that might indicate that they could be successful here.  USD, like all schools, is trying to enroll a class that has many types of students – students from different places, with different academic interests, with different personal characteristics, and who have different skills and talents.  All of these differences help form the foundation of our community and enrich the classroom, the residence hall, and entire campus. 

Selecting a class is an imperfect process, and I know that finding out you weren’t admitted to a school you were interested in can hurt.  I’ve experienced this in my work over the past thirty years, but I’ve also experienced it as a parent, seeing the disappointment in my own kids.  There is little I can do or say that will make that hurt and disappointment go away.  But I can tell you that it will pass, and there will be good news that comes your way.  More often than not, students end up loving the school they end up at, even if it might not have been their first choice. 

As I thought about this day, and the impact our decisions (and those of many other schools) will have on students as they receive the news, I thought of an old tune from a band called the Kinks – a British band that has been around almost as long as I have (mid-60’s).  As you start getting your decisions from colleges – big envelop or small – I hope you’ll keep these lyrics in mind, and know that this sentiment comes from all of us who do this work:

“Here’s hoping all the days ahead
Won’t be as bitter as the ones behind you.
Be an optimist instead,
And somehow happiness will find you.
Forget what happened yesterday,
I know that better things are on the way.
“I know tomorrow you’ll find better things…”
- Ray Davies, The Kinks

Please know that we still have a lot of decisions to make, including more admit decisions.  We hope to be done by the end of next week.  But whatever happens, we wish you well, and thank you for your sincere interest in USD.  Never stop looking for better things.

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