That (other) time my kid got into college

Perhaps you remember when Chickadee figured out what she wanted out of a college and then made it happen, and I was over the moon because not just YAY COLLEGE but also YAY LOOK AT YOU ADULTING and YAY YOU MADE IT and such. It was a time of MANY FEELS, many capital letters, and me randomly getting weepy and saying I AM JUST SO PROUD OF YOU to her at the most inopportune and (one assumes) embarrassing times. I’m sure she loved it.

All of that was very exciting. It remains exciting, actually. If you think I don’t periodically get teary and LOOK AT YOU GO all over again with her, you don’t know me very well. And let us note for the record that she had both her acceptance and her scholarship ahead of the winter break, and I perhaps didn’t appreciate how awesome that was at the time. (This is called foreshadowing.)

So when it came time to start the whole process with Monkey, it was old hat. Right? Right. No biggie. All fine. Nothing to worry about at all. I knew the drill, he required a bit more cajoling all in all, but hey, no problem. I dragged him to Atlanta to visit a campus I thought he’d like and over the course of about two weeks—with the actual campus visit in the middle—he went from, “I just don’t know that I’d be comfortable leaving town” to “I see now why you wanted me to visit” to “I guess I’ll apply” to “That is absolutely my first choice school.” Wonderful! Except! Oh my, so many things had not occurred to me when I had the SO BRILLIANT notion that I would just “introduce” him to this school that would be perfect for him. Allow me to count the ways….

I mentioned before that Monkey is dual-enrolled right now, which means that if he wanted to stay at the university where he currently takes classes, he doesn’t even have to apply again. I think part of what appealed to him so much about “staying here” was the idea that he’d already been accepted and he could skip the senior year angst about college. But NOOOOOO, I had to take him to Giant Nerd University and get his heart set on it because I am a moron. And:

1) GNU doesn’t release Early Acceptance notifications until mid-January (hello, Winter Break filled with uncertainty while thinking back fondly to how this time last year, we already knew Chickie’s results).
2) GNU is actually on the “colleges with the lowest acceptance rates” lists. It’s not as selective as an Ivy (pretty sure the average high school senior has a better chance of being abducted by aliens than getting into Harvard, at this point), but highly selective.
3) Despite every person we encountered during our time touring GNU bringing up “holistic review,” Monkey sat down with their published stats on freshman profiles, compared it to his academic accomplishments, and decided he was going to be accepted. He wasn’t even a little worried. Ever.
4) Due to number 3, above, I became the Designated Worrier because HOLISTIC REVIEW and while I certainly think my kid is not just awesome, but The Most Awesome Ever, I am not on the admissions committee at GNU.

I’m not going to lie to you about this. I could not sleep the night before decisions came out. I tossed. I turned. And not because I thought he wouldn’t get in (I simply didn’t know), or because I thought he MUST get in (I believe in blooming where you’re planted; and if not there, he’d be fine elsewhere), but because hell hath no fury like an Aspie whose assumptions are not met. He wasn’t worried. He was sure he’d be accepted. So what category of hurricane awaited us if he didn’t?

Lucky for us, I never found out. He was accepted to Giant Nerd University, cheerfully shared the news, then went back to what he’d been doing before he checked. Because that’s how he rolls.

Turns out, the second time you have a kid get into college is pretty nifty, too. Maybe his challenges were different than his sister’s, but hey, remember that time we took him to middle school orientation and he hid under a desk? Remember when I decided to homeschool him even though I had no earthly idea what the hell I was doing, because it was clear he simply couldn’t keep doing public school? And remember when he finally went back to public school and I agonized over whether it was the right choice? MAH BAYBEE. Look at him go.

(Honestly, I don’t know how my kids ended up so smart and amazing. Their mother is a basket case.)

Anyway, that’s our college saga. Now everything is a flurry of deposits (HOOBOY, once a college wants you they sure do want your money, all of it, ASAP) and decisions and looking forward to graduation, because in a few short months, Monkey’s off to meet his tribe.

If you, too, are deep in College Decision territory, I have a few new Alpha Mom posts for you. First these’s a post about how to choose which college to attend, once decisions start coming in; you can also (and I wrote this one because It’s That Magical Time) read about how to combat senioritis. It’s an exciting time, it’s a confusing time, and I just want everyone to be safe and happy. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK? It might be. But I’m asking, anyway.


  1. liz

    MAZEL TOV!!!

  2. kellyg

    Yay, Monkey! I like the Giant Nerd University nom de plume. Have some slaw dogs for me (sans buns, if you must).

  3. Mom24_4evermom

    Yay! Yay! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Brenda

    Huzzah and hooray! So happy for Monkey! As I typed that, I definitely had one of those “Wait, how is this person old enough for college already? Aren’t they still adorable little children? How long have I been following this blog anyway?” moments.

    • Wendalette

      This exactly.

    • Jennifer

      I had the same moment Brenda – how long have I been reading here, where did the last umm 10 (?) years go? They are still little kids aren’t they?!

    • The Other Leanne

      ^What Brenda said^.

    • Mir

      Is now a good time to point out that I started writing here THIRTEEN (13!!!!) years ago? Monkey was four. Chickadee was six. And my hair was still brown.

      P.S. Hi, I’m old now.

      • melissa

        I just realized I started reading here before I had kids. When you were single in new england.

        the mind boggles

  5. Flea Christenson

    That whole hiding under the desk thing? Yeah. Same fears. And they all grew out of it. All three of mine are adulting nicely. Well, mostly nicely. You’ve done an amazing job, Mir. Congratulations. :)

  6. Denise

    Congratulations, Monkey!!!!! (and Mir!!!!)

  7. Liv

    Huuuge congrats!!

  8. Kate

    1. That is such wonderful news, congratulations! 2. Are you going to have mascot cookies at his graduation party too? Because those made me laugh so, so, so hard.

    • Mir

      Oh God, I’d forgotten (repressed) that. We still have a gift voucher from what happened last year. So maybe? Maybe just so that I can see how they turn out…?

      • Kate

        I mean, they couldn’t be WORSE than last year’s, right? (…..right?)

        • Mir

          Let’s not tempt fate….

        • Jennifer

          ^^ this too is what we call foreshadowing…

          • Mir

            This thread has given me life.

  9. Chris

    Congrats to Monkey (and to Mir because sometimes I think college applications are even harder on the parents!). Still one to go in our house so can’t wait to be on the other side.

  10. Karen R.


  11. Ani

    Many congrats. Fairly certain we visited same GNU this past summer and resident Aspue nerd also loved it. As did we. Ours is a junior so we all have applications to get through next fall. Tempered by he is also dual enrolled at local university and if he went there…it would be free tuition. Many thoughts to think!

  12. Mary K. in Rockport

    All of the above, the visits, the applications, the waiting, the angsting, the packing, the goodbying. Then, the astounding discovery that you’ ve become an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mom. When they’re not at home, you’re not worrying! It’s crazy but it’s true!

  13. Vickie

    Major congrats. So glad it worked out okay.

    My niece, who is very brilliant and a neighbor girl who is also brilliant, did not get their first choices. They were shocked. Their parents were shocked. They both went on to have success at their other schools. But it was a tough couple weeks with unexpected no’s.

    And because time goes oh so quickly, I am going to mention, study for GRE’s the summer before senior college year, then take them in August before senior year, because grad school applications start being due in December. August testing allows enough time for a retake if needed. Review math like crazy for that test. And ask for more recommendation letters than you need. College faculty are notoriously slow. (I have one thru grad school, one in grad school, one in under grad.)

    • Mir

      Because I am neurotic, I have spent a fair amount of time on some college discussion boards where, it turns out, there are valedictorians and other standouts who were either deferred or outright rejected from GNU, and the ANGER and FINGER-POINTING has astounded me. A kid on there actually rounded on another kid with “My stats are way better than yours, how the hell did you get in and I didn’t??” Wowza.

      I know he would’ve been fine anywhere, it’s just that he sets his heart on relatively few things, and when he does, it’s nice to see him get them. (Also, I suspect there’s a whole lotta Monkeys at this school, easy to find, and that does make me happy, too!)

      • dad

        You’re neurotic?

        I’m shocked!

    • WrittenPyramids

      Oh man, you do NOT need to go to grad school right after college. I mean, if you know for sure what you want to do and grad school is the only way to do it, sure. but otherwise, work for a few years. It’s cheaper, it makes you a better applicant and gives you a chance to figure out what you really want to do next.

      • Mir

        If it’s all the same to y’all we’re not going to worry about grad school just yet. ;)

        • WrittenPyramids

          TOTALLY fair. CONGRATS TO MONKEY!!!!!!

      • Vickie

        Some undergrad degrees/areas of study need grad school to follow. (In order to do anything at all with the undergrad degree, need grad school, a must have situation with some fields). And there is something to be said for cranking while they are still used to school/study/test. And sometimes more $$$ (like full rides) can be found when they have those academic/research connections.

        • Vickie

          You don’t have to worry about it yet, but tuck it away in your brain that end of junior year is when action starts. College years go REALLY quickly.

          • Vickie

            My son asked why he was chosen (full ride, grad school) over kids with higher stats. (He asked this later years.) And Dept head told him it was because he could communicate well and work well with others. This was a research program. And research involved other grad students in lab and people involved in studies. We would not have guessed he would be seen as “social” (he is an introvert) but in view of competition, he was. He is done with masters.

            My daughter does not have a full ride for class fees. But they pay for all her certifications/tests, and her other program fees, which is a lot of $$$. And she is paid for her client time (autism clinic, masters). Her under grad was early ed/special needs type thing. She has her teaching license which is a plus.

            I am leaving these comments because for some families, these are important things to know. I have seen kids with families that don’t know, get to Xmas break senior year and then realize all the things they should have done the summer before.

            • Mir

              I appreciate the time/intent. :) All three parents here hold advanced degrees so we know the drill.

  14. Lauren

    SO GREAT! And super randomly one of the seniors I did application coaching with may end up at what I have a sneaking suspicion is GNU! Makes the world feel touchingly small/sweet in this dark week.

  15. Mel

    WOW! YOU GO MONKEY! And you GO PARENTS! Way to support him and nudge him along when he needed it. I feel like we should all send Monkey gaming items to make his going away to college EPIC :)

  16. Jena

    Go Monkey!! I think I was reading this blog when he hit double digits. Time flies!

  17. Jenny

    Congrats Monkey!!!

  18. Rachael

    As long as I get to see the first day of school shoe pics, I think I can roll with your precious babies being in college. Maybe. (And by the way, have you seen any of those horrendous cat spiders down your way? That’s when I first started reading, and I haven’t forgotten that horrendous-looking thing.)

    • Mir

      That enormous wolf spider thing that was carrying babies? We have them here, too. But because the palmetto bugs are so horrifying and the tomato horn worms are as big as my dog, the horror is somewhat muted, now.

  19. Chuck

    GNU is an awesome pseudonym. I think he’ll have an absolutely amazing time there. Can’t think of any nearby school that is a better fit. And I agree, worrying about grad school can wait!

  20. Kristin

    Congrats to Monkey! (Also count me among those wondering where the time has gone.)

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