As Class of 2012 Waits…

Some of my friends have been whispering about the above average fertility rates back in 1989; others blame it on the Common Applications. I simply know how hard it’s been waiting for the final news; all of us do.

Surely, there must be a better way – a national admissions lottery for instant decisions: just type in the SAT scores, GPAs, EC’s, essays and the decision appears in seconds. Good news, you send in the deposit – bad news, try again – next year.

Last week, I asked the manager of our local organic grocery store if he would offer Class of 2012 parents a pre-notification discount – after all, we’ve been loyal customers from diaper rashes on. He handed me a box of adrenal gland supplements and sleep-inducing homeopathics, and made me promise to tell him when we heard.

Then I headed over to the library with a very over-due book and anxiously pleaded for an Over-Due Amnesty form, explaining that the book about a 5th century Chinese general, referenced in one of my son’s college essays, had been buried in a pile of forgotten SAT practice tests. And I moaned about the odds and the perils of giving birth in the wrong year — could my late fees be forgiven?

Yes, I wailed on and on about how 2012 had broken a record with the all-time highest number of applications – and her supervisor drew up close and informed me that they no longer lent records — but if a broken DVD was involved, I should settle with the accountant upstairs.

“Have you any idea what this wait is doing to me?” I asked, as I set down a five dollar bill. The devoted librarian showed little sympathy and suggested I think about the admissions officials, who worked on my behalf. Had I ever tried to imagine all the grim hours they endured comparing indistinguishable data, score upon score, hyperbolic recommendations that sounded quite the same –

I drove home exhausted by my futile attempts and reached inside my mailbox to find a letter from a division of College Board I’d never heard about before.

“Class 2012 applicants will be required to submit all hospital data collected during the birth process before March 15.”  APGAR scores and pre-natal heart rates, the letter stated, have been cited as excellent early indicators of intellectual aptitude.

Not the APGAR! I rushed into the kitchen and heated up some tea.

As far as I could remember, there were no APGAR practice tests in the hospital where my son was born. We knew his first score could have been higher, but his second was more than decent – would they consider super-scores?

As my tea cooled, I saw that they wanted much more. They wanted to know about early influences, and requested a copy of the hospital visitors list. And then I saw the College Board statistics that made it all too clear those students with heartbeats between 125-150, ten minutes prior to delivery, were more likely to graduate with top honors than those outside the range.  I’d been so preoccupied at the time,  I’d forgotten to ask the nurses about where he fit in and just labored on.