The applications and other information went in on November 1 as required. On November 3, Ben already had an interview with Duke University set up for November 10 here in Knoxville. I went to my colleague to find out how to prepare for that interview. He gave me a lot of good suggestions, but he also mentioned how we could best make use of our planned college visit. As I walked away from that meeting, I realized that God had set up that sequence of visit and interview at just the right time. My faith gets shaky, but then something like that happens, and I realize God is in control.
Having worked so hard to get the applications in, Ben went on a church retreat Nov 3-5. I picked him up on the 5th and we drove over to Raleigh. It’s a long way over there – about 6.5 hours.
On Monday, we headed to NC State for the 10:00 session and tour. It is a HUGE university, and they have very little interest in diversity. There are no known international scholarships, so while we enjoyed the presentation, we didn’t stay for the tour. We drove around the campus a bit, and found Ben was not great at map reading.
Our appointment for Duke was at 2:00. We arrived early and got a parking sticker, wandered about the campus a bit and enjoyed some of their great food. Duke is a much smaller university, but very “family-like”. The information session and tour were nicely done, and by the end, we were both amazed at the opportunities that were offered.
Over the past weeks, we have been getting in various bits of information: financial statements, transcripts, teacher recommendations. Ben’s Art teacher had no trouble putting her recommendation up on the link Ben sent her. But his English teacher couldn’t make it work, even after he sent it three times. So, in desperation, he sent her the admissions office email. I think that has gone in now.
Then there was the ACT debacle. Ben took his ACT test on October 28, a Saturday. We’ve been waiting for his scores to come out, but as of November 16, they are not available. On November 14, Ben attended a Senior meeting at his school where the students were told the ACT had sent the wrong test books, and so could not verify the scores. Those tests would not even be graded. The only compensation was that the next test wouldn’t cost them anything. When scores are required for scholarships, and the due date is coming up immediately, that is not a lot of comfort.
Thankfully, Ben had taken the SAT last year as a 10th grader. The score wasn’t bad for his first effort, so I had him send that score to Duke. He also sent an email explaining about the ACT scores. I asked his counselor at Bearden to send a letter to Duke explaining the situation. On the 15th, she phoned me to say that Ben’s scores were not affected. The test that went wrong was a “free” one that Bearden provided for Seniors. Since Ben had taken his on Saturday, not a weekday, his test was valid. WHEW! I felt we had dodged another bullet!
Then, upon reflection, I realized that the standardized test scores HAVE to be in by Nov 17 or the application is canceled. If the ACT scores didn’t make it by then, we would be out of luck. But, having sent the SAT scores, it kept the application alive. So, while it was a heart-stopping experience, it has served to protect the application. The good news is, the ACT scores came out on the 17th and went straight to Duke.
Now all that can be done has been done. We wait for the final decision on December 15. If the answer is “Yes”, we’re done! (Listen for shouts of praise and rejoicing.) If the answer is “No”, then we start over with a new set of colleges. There is no “Delay” decision for International students. Thankfully, applications for international students are later than for US students, so we will have until April for most of them.
God is not unaware of what we need, and makes sure we do it, even when we can’t understand what is happening at the time. We wait in hope.