Dear Private School Applicants in Los Angeles,
Last week, you received your admissions letters. If you got into your first choice school, congratulations! If not, don’t despair. As someone with years of experience teaching and tutoring, I know it’s going to be okay. Let me tell you why.
First, your goal should not be to get into the “best” school, but rather the school that is the best fit for you. For some students this might be Harvard Westlake, but for others it might be Oakwood, or Westmark, or a performing arts magnet, or the public school down the street. The same is true for colleges, where students fortunately have more options. Just because the Jones’s daughter attends a certain highly selective school doesn’t mean you have to go there, too. As a tutor, I might benefit from telling you that your life will be incomplete if you don’t get into that highly competitive private school. But I’m a tutor because I enjoy working one-on-one with students and helping them strengthen their academic skills and feel more confident in their abilities. After working with a few students (and parents) who were overwhelmed and stressed out because they got into a “good” school that wasn’t a good fit, I can tell you that it isn’t worth it.
I have seen cases, however, where an amazing student who seems like a great fit for a certain school gets rejected. This brings me to my second point: the school admissions process is somewhat arbitrary. I’m not saying admissions officers don’t have good reasons for the decisions they make, but there’s no way they can really get to know each student from their application, test scores, and interview. It’s not their fault if they didn’t realize you would be an asset to their school, and it’s not your fault, either. The good news is that those amazing students who got rejected from their first choice schools usually got into their second or third choices and ended up going there.
This brings me to my third point: every school has amazing students (and teachers), so you’ll be in good company no matter where you go. Making the most out of your school experience by putting your full effort into your studies and activities is more important than getting into a specific school. No matter which school you end up at, public or private or magnet or charter, you can learn a lot if you apply yourself.
So take some time to relax (but don’t abandon your current studies) now that the school admissions process is over. No matter where you go next year, you can have a great experience!
Katherine N. Friedman, Tutor