Our College Application Nightmare


Today is the deadline for many college university applications. After years of working hard, taking tests and writing essays, it comes down to the little push of a “submit” button on a computer.

Our second oldest child, Brandon, graduates this coming spring and today two of his five applications are due. Today is a reminder that (sniff, sniff, sob, sob) our home will be dramatically different next year.

I managed to hold myself together enough this morning to remind Brandon that before running out the door for a day at school – immediately followed by work at Local Motion – to please verify that all components of his applications were completed and submitted.

Together, we read his application status, “Applications received. Payment pending.”

Wait a minute. Payment pending? What does that mean?

I checked our credit card statement. No record of payment – which we made two weeks ago.

Looked like I was going to have to call the help line and get things figured out.

Apparently, there are a lot of people calling this particular university system’s application help line today to try to figure things out.

After THIRTY MINUTES on hold, I was connected to a very nice lady . This very nice lady worked with Gregg and I for quite some time to try to enable Brandon’s application portal so it would receive our payment. None of which worked. During our conversation with her she assured that this is very uncommon and, “She’s never seen or experienced anything like this before.”

At this point, I thought I should get in touch with Brandon at school to alert him of the complication and see if he had any additional information that would help us solve the problem.

Brandon replied via text, “I’m Charlie Brown.”

So sad.

Which got me starting to think of things I could say to reassure Brandon when he got home tonight that he is so NOT Charlie Brown. Things like, “You’re going to get into a great college. You’re a good student. You’ve worked so hard. This is all going to work out. You’re so nice and fun to be around.”

Things, which to an 18-year-old boy, are translated, “Blah, blah blah.” Kind of like the adult voices on Peanuts.

Anyway, back to the really nice lady trying to help us.

Gregg pleaded with her, “We have a credit card. Can’t you process this over the phone?”

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Can you connect us to someone who can process this over the phone?”

“No, we can’t do that.”

“Can you hit a couple of buttons or do something on your end, so we can resubmit our payment?!” (Insert vocal intensity beginning to rise.)

“No, we can’t do that either.”

May I add: these are COLLEGE APPLICATIONS at well-respected UNIVERSITIES. Shouldn’t they be able to figure this out?

After an HOUR on the phone, the really nice lady connected us to her supervisor. (Repeat the same conversation above with a little more volume in your voice). Eventually, this woman also told us that she, too, has done everything she can do to help us and nothing has worked.

She was now ready to hang up and help the next distraught caller on hold.

“NOOOOOOO! Please don’t leave us! You are our ONLY connection to the other side! What do you recommend for us to do?”

“You will need to mail in your payment.”

Seriously? This is my son’s FUTURE we are talking about and your best next move is to involve the assistance of the postal service?! UGH.

Ironically, just minutes before making this call I read a morning devotion on Psalm 20:7,

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

Funny, the immediacy to which I found myself having to apply this principle.

I’m used to getting things done on my own. I can be quick to trust in my own ability to make things happen and I get frustrated when I can’t control the outcome.

Sometimes it’s easier for me to look at the things around me and put my trust there – the solid, capable, reliable things. The people I can count on, the things I can control.

Yet, what I truly desire – what I desperately need – is for God to be the source of my trust. And today, I’m reminded of my daily need to trust God – even in the little things. He is the only One in which I can place my confidence.

Oh yeah, by the way, the check is in the mail.

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