this time next year

High school offer letters went home to many 8th graders today and I’ve been getting lots of feedback from families.


One thing I’m hearing often is they ended up with offers or decisions they didn’t expect. 

I’ll repeat this throughout the process: while it’s hard to not pin hopes on one school or feel like you’ve found the perfect spot for your child, there are no guarantees. As you research and tour and find out about different schools and options, try to find positives in a variety of places for both you and your kid. 

My son got his first specialized choice and his third main round choice. We saw the main round school late in the process and neither of us remembered too many specifics, although I did recall our tour guide noisily chewed gum the entire time he was with us. I also remember ditching the tour in the middle—the staircases were super crowded and we didn’t need to see any more classrooms, so we slipped out. That school didn’t offer any sort of open house for accepted students (some main round schools do but not all) and so we had to make a decision based on choices we weren’t really expecting, without a second chance to reevaluate in real time.

Not easy. It was between the largest high school and the smallest high school in the city. I pushed for large, as I knew he’d have more educational opportunities there. He wanted small, with a strong sense of community.

He ended up at the big school, miserable for two years, pining for a smaller place. But, as a junior, he’s relishing the classes he’s taking. In a small school he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to take things like human geography and sociology. While the specialized school was his first choice, he hadn’t fallen in love with it. In fact, he didn’t really like it. But, it’s turning out to be a great academic experience for him. 

I know so many families whose kids thrived at schools that weren’t at the tops of their lists. Good to keep that in mind.