Why the bridge you ask? My number one mom mantra is ‘don’t burn bridges.’ It is the one phrase guaranteed to elicit eye-rolling from both of my kids. However, when it comes to waiting list decorum, the issue at hand is less about the bridge and more about just doing the right thing.
It’s been an unusual admissions season, with spring break falling so late in March. Many Dallas private schools send out their decision letters on the Friday before spring break. This year that date was March 22nd. Schools asked parents to notify them of their decision by April 5th (two weeks later), either by bringing in a contract and deposit or by declining the offer with a phone call or email.
I learned something this week. Some parents of children waitlisted at their top-choice school have not given notice at other schools where their children were accepted. So, a child is accepted at schools A & B but really wants to attend school C, where they are waitlisted. The parent, hoping a spot will open up at school C, has not accepted, declined, or even contacted schools A & B, assuming that their child’s offer will remain as their ‘backup’ if a spot doesn’t open up at school C.
My thoughts? To not notify a school that has given your child a place is inconsiderate and unacceptable. You have put a great deal of time and effort into applying to the school, and in turn, the school has spent time and energy considering (and eventually accepting) your child. It’s rude to ignore their deadline. Additionally, just as you may be hoping beyond hope that a spot opens up at your first choice school, there are others who feel the same way at the schools you have ignored. Being on the waitlist is excruciating for everyone, so you’ve really done those folks a disservice.
So, what to do? If there is no way you will send your child there, then call immediately, apologize, and decline their offer. If you’re seriously thinking of sending your child there if a spot does not open up at your top choice school, fill out the paperwork and put the deposit down. Yes, you will lose your deposit if you end up with a place at the other school. But you will have done the right thing by everyone.
In this world, you never know what the future holds. What if the first-choice school isn’t a good fit and you decide you’re interested in the school you neglected to contact? What if that school turns out to be a great possibility for one of your younger children? You’ll wish you hadn’t burned that bridge.
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