Monday, March 19, 2007

I mentioned that I spent the weekend at University of Texas, Dallas with my daughter Lucy. At the finalist weekend for potential McDermott Scholars, I met a few of the brightest students in America and spent time with some of their parents. For some, this is a time of monumental stress. It's the time of year in which high school seniors are getting the word...notices from universities whether they are in or out, but with little or no conveyance of understanding why. There is vast potential for disappointment and heartache, both for the children and their parents. It is important for most of us to bring things into perspective, and it would be best to understand the process before disappointment sets in.

One of the schools in the Midwest had 22,000 applicants for 1500 openings for incoming freshmen. The application process for many universities is more like booking the seats in a jetliner than what our loftier imaginations would allow.

In pricing of tickets, the airlines know that they can sell this many tickets at this price, that many at that price, and they know that at the last minute, there will be plenty of travelers left in the marketplace to fill those last few seats at full fare. It helps if you realize that at many colleges and universities, scholarships are like discounts. As in any business, understanding the customers and the dynamics of pricing, is an important element in continued success.

There are differences between booking a flight, and attempting to enter a prestigious American university. At the university, you can be ejected in mid flight. If your circumstances change, your fare may change also. In regards to need-based financial aid, you have to provide irrefutable evidence of what you can afford. Just imagine having to share your most vital financial information with an airline before being quoted your best price.

To all those waiting with their children for the news, hold fast. At times it may feel like the airport shuttle in the Dallas/Ft.Worth Airport. Don't let the process jerk you off your feet. You will need a grip on the rail. Please rest assured that there will be those who will recognize your son's or daughter's incredible qualities and assist in the flight.

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