Postmen all over the county are delivering the college decision letters, and across the country tens of thousands of high school seniors are eagerly checking their mailboxes for the “letter”. This letter is the ticket to their futures, the opportunity to move away from home, and to discover a new world.
In my case, the college I attended taught me to learn, grow and strive to become the best person I could be. The lifelong friends I met at Colgate have celebrated with me, comforted me and always supported me for who I am, not what I have (or have not). College shapes us, connects us and gives us the tools and strength to move into our futures. It is often the most important decision a high school senior can make.
People with developmental disabilities are no different than their peers as they dream for their futures, which may or may not include college. Certainly there are transition programs, vocational programs and other opportunities for people with disabilities, but there are also colleges. As I described in my earlier posts, Alex has unequivocally told us she has chosen college as the next step in her quest for a job, a home and a family.
She has also demanded she graduate from high school with an academic certificate having completed all the requirements for graduation. This prohibits her from getting services from the school district, as we are waiving this right by graduating with an academic certificate. We support Alex in this decision and will need to wait until she is 21 to apply for any support or services for Alex.
Just like tens of thousands of high school seniors across the country Alex applied to her first choice college and has been eagerly checking the mailbox for the “letter”. Alex was the only person home when the letter finally arrived a few days ago. Alex tore open the letter and called me immediately to ask me what “alternate” meant. She read me the letter and also took a picture of it to text me.
The letter was very nice, and explained Alex had met all the requirements for admission, but as the program was very competitive she had been placed on the alternate list. I used my old school terminology to explain alternate list is actually a wait list and this cleared it up for Alex. It means Alex will need to wait some more, and then she will get a yes or no. Maybes don’t work well with Alex, she is often very black and white, but waiting she understands.
Overall Alex is excited, she was quite pleased that she was not rejected and quite proud she has met the requirements for admission. It is really quite an accomplishment to fill out a college application and successfully interview at a College, but Alex took it all in stride, because this is what her sister did, so this is what she should do.
So the wait continues, and if Alex is anything like me (and she is), she is hiding her nervousness, watching the mailbox and hoping for the best. I know this because I was also admitted off a wait list at my college of choice. And that has made all the difference.
Keep your fingers crossed!