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The Importance of Gratitude in the College Admissions Process

I was recently talking with my son-in-law, Paul, about the many changes in the college process that have happened since he was in college. He then shared with me an event that happened at the

most recent interviews conducted with law students looking for employment with his firm. He is in charge of the search committee, where students are subjected to multiple interviews with all of the partners, including Paul.  Some of these interviews are conducted at dinner meetings.

The partners then reconvene behind closed doors, talk about the candidates and make a decision about employment.  In discussing one particular student, from a prestigious Ivy, all of the partners wanted to offer employment, except one.  When Paul asked why, the partner shared that when he went to dinner with this candidate, the young man didn’t thank the waiter.  Something that simple can change your life for the positive or the negative.  If this young man practiced gratitude, his employment outcome would have been different.

The word gratitude is derived from the Latin word gratia, which means grace, graciousness, or gratefulness. In some ways, gratitude encompasses all of these meanings. Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. With gratitude, people acknowledge the goodness in their lives. In the process, people usually recognize that the source of that goodness lies at least partially outside themselves. As a result, gratitude also helps people connect to something larger than themselves as individuals — whether to other people, nature, or a higher power.

Many of you have often heard me speak of the maze that is the admissions process today, which I honestly don’t see getting any easier.  And, with the stress of completing the applications, finishing all of those essays, making sure the letters of recommendation are in, preparing for the interviews, and any other myriad steps required, gratitude can often be forgotten. But I believe it is as important a step as any other.

A recent study on gratitude by Dr. Robert A. Emmons, of U C Davis, revealed that students who took the time every day to write about what they are grateful for were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who didn’t focus on gratitude.

Now that November 1 has passed and many of you have turned in all your applications, I would like you to reflect on who you are grateful for.  I am sure your list could include parents, family, teachers and friends.  Have you told them thank you?  What’s stopping you?  Now would be a good time, I believe, to express your gratitude.

I will start.  I am grateful for each and every one of you for your faith in my services to help you through your admissions journey.  Thank you.  Your support means the world to me.

Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida