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A Post for New Vandy Parents and Short Waitlist Update

Posted by on Wednesday, June 3, 2009 in Advice for Parents, Waitlist.

I have three sons, all under the age of three, and I work in admissions.  That means that my ability to make a living depends on the decision-making of 17-year olds, and my ability to get a good night’s sleep depends on the whims of 4-month olds (our twin boys).  I am like the dad in the car commercial from some years ago that wonders out loud while driving his toddler around town, “Now I’m a dad, and it’s my job to tell him, ‘No, that cookie’s fallen on the floor, you can’t eat that . . . when inside my head, I’m thinking – five second rule – that cookie’s still good.'”  I am, like most parents I know, a work in progress on the parenting front.

Watching that move-in video from last week got me thinking about what the parents who read this blog are going through in this process of supporting, and ultimately preparing their child to go off to college.  I think about what my parents did for me when I went off to school.  They had just driven off after hugs and few wetted eyes.  I got back to my room and started up my computer and on my desktop they had each written me a letter.  Each one stated how proud they were of me, and gave advice about what to look out for in the coming years.  I still have those letters.  I loved it so much, in fact, that for each of my sons, I have been writing them letters since they were born.  The thought is that I will someday give them over to them when they go off to college.

So it is with humility that I attempt to offer advice to parents at least 4 times my senior in the parenting biz.  I won’t pretend that I know first hand what it is like to send your child off to college, but I have been a second hand observer to the process, having worked for colleges almost a decade.  The Southern journalist Hodding Carter wrote, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.”  You’ve given them so much throughout their life, and have taught them well.  Trust them now in hopes that some small portion of what you’ve taught has sunk in, most importantly the love you gave them.

So with that here’s a couple of pieces of advice:

1) Most college students change their major, it’s not a big deal.  Be prepared for some homesickness, it’s also not a big deal.

2) Leave his or her room like it is for a while.  Yes, he or she will be living at college, but that room is still home, and it can be unsettling to come back and see the room has been reacquisitioned by the family.  It’s not a scientific sample or anything, but every friend I had in college that had this happen to them had issues like a magazine rack about it.

3) Come for parent weekend.  You’ll love it.

4) Send care packages, your child will love it.  The Vandy bookstore will even have ready-made packages for you to order in the fall.

5) Consider getting involved in the Vanderbilt Parent and Family Association and stay connected to your son or daughter’s community.  There’s also a parent hotline for any questions that you might have.

Waitlist Update

As of right now, all of the calling from the last wave has concluded and no new calling  is currently being done.  Our waitlist is still active though and we are watching to see how some of the remaining deposits shake out to determine if another wave of calling needs to happen.  That’s all I know right now, and will update when I can.

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  • David

    June 3rd, 2009

    This waitlist thing is hard, but I’m so glad for this blog to help me through it (especially when you’re waitlisted at several schools). Also are all the colleges within Vanderbilt still open?

  • Waitlister's Mom

    June 4th, 2009

    First, as the mother of a waitlisted student, I would like to thank you for your attention to updates. They have really helped. Only the phone ringing at our house could be more helpful. Really, Vanderbilt is to be commended for being so attentive to these students and their anxious parents. Secondly, as the mother of two children who have gone off to college, I thought your advice to first time college parents was sweet, hearfelt and helpful. One piece of further advice, do not cry until you get in the car. Once you begin, you can’t stop. After the first week, it gets easier. And as for the room at home, it was a big issue for both my college age kids and my last one will not come home to find his room transformed into a sewing room! Let them hold onto their security. They seem grown up but they are still children. Keep parenting them… Thom, enjoy your children. You will be traveling down this road all too soon.
    God bless.

  • Barbara

    June 6th, 2009

    Thanks Thom for all the waitlist updates! I have been following them for a month and they are very helpful! (Especially since waitlists are all starting to slow down) I really like how Vanderbilt actually keeps their waitlisted people informed of what is going on, unlike other colleges. I personally think these updates help relieve stress. So thanks again!

  • wendy

    June 7th, 2009

    How many offers have you made from the waitlist so far? How many remain?
    Thank you.

  • Andrew

    June 8th, 2009


    I was placed on the waiting list at four schools, and Vanderbilt has been the most helpful and interactive in its process. Whereas communication has seemed nearly impossible with the other schools, it has been simple and easy with you and your institution. Thank you for taking the extra time to ease some of the anxiety for me and those in my situation.

  • kristina

    June 8th, 2009

    Does it look as though Vanderbilt will be making more offers from the waitlist? Do you know if any of your schools have been filled?

    If students are cancelling admission to their already accepted school to attend Vanderbilt, do you find that students are dropping admission to Vanderbilt to attend another school also?


  • Nanette

    June 10th, 2009

    Thanks so much for keeping us “waitlisters” updated!

  • Maddi

    June 13th, 2009

    Hey Thom!

    I’ve noticed that no new updates on waitlist students have been posted since June 3. Does this mean no new offers will be made? Is Vanderbilt’s class filled as of June 13? Thanks for everything.


  • Thom

    June 14th, 2009

    Hey Everyone,

    Sorry for the crickets chirping there, haven’t been able to get in and post this week. Waitlist is still active (i.e., not closed) and we have not gone out with a new wave of calling. Right now we feel that the class is getting close, but we’re not yet ready to say that the class is “filled.” Right now it’s really a wait and see what our “summer melt” looks like. I’ll post something on this tomorrow.

    Thanks everyone,

  • kristina

    June 22nd, 2009

    Any updates?

  • Thom

    June 27th, 2009

    Hello all,

    Nothing new to report on the waitlist from the last post. We are watching our melt and still keeping the waitlist active as of right now.