I’ve heard the anecdotes left and right, including a few first hand accounts. In my optimistic outlook on this process, I still assumed that this didn’t happen often. Well, boom goes the dynamite! It’s happened to me. Originally waitlisted at #18, my son was just offered a seat at Green Woods Charter for this September. Yesterday. And I had to let them know by today. Yep, that’s right. 24 hours. Back when I was a college career counselor helping students weigh job offers, we referred to these as exploding offers. (seems so quaint now in the age of the Great Recession, doesn’t it?)
I understand how this sort of situation arises with charter or private schools. A family will drop out at the last minute and a school wants to both maintain it’s enrollment number and offer another family the opportunity. They just can’t give a family the luxury of a week to decide, because they want to offer the slot to someone else with enough time for them to make a decision. I don’t fault the schools for doing this at all–in is an unfortunate side effect of the expanded school choices we have today.
The concept of an exploding offer is certainly dramatic, but the real drama for me is not the 24-hour window, but rather when the offer was tendered–just a couple weeks before school is about to start. If I had a week to mull over the acceptance, my decision would not be any different.
So what is my family doing? So many factors to consider–all of the preparation in place for plan A–my son has visited his original kindergarten, he knows which friends will be joining him and we’ve had playdates with some of his new classmates. We’ve constructed a plans for child care, transportation, and some after school activities which would have to be modified. Finances, of course, are a factor–it is now down to a choice between a free charter school and a tuition-based private school. Of course, I was and continue to be really excited about my original choice. Of course, I also have decreasing confidence in Philadelphia’s public schools as a result of events over the last year. To be clear, my decreased confidence isn’t directed at Green Woods specifically, but rather at the bankrupt system that they are working within. In fact, all along I felt like Green Woods would be a great fit for my son. In the end, it wasn’t a slam dunk decision, for sure, but #19, you should expect an explosive call today…