Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the house
College applications were stirring, waiting the click of a mouse;

The essays were done, saved as word docs with care,
In hopes that high SAT scores soon would be there;

The 12th-graders were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of acceptance letters danced in their heads;

And Mom with shrinking checkbook and Dad with plunging market cap,
Found it difficult to relax for a long winter’s nap;

When from the guidance office there arose a big clatter,
All students in town wanted to see what was the matter;

Away to the windows they flew like a flash,
Turning off their I-pods, and their backpacks were stashed.

The sun shining on the new-fallen snow
Blinded the view of the seniors below,

When, what to their wondering eyes should appear
First trimester report cards, they were finally here!

Grades for English and math and science and music,
Hadn’t school just started, these grades were awfully quick?

More rapid than cheetahs, these grades as they came,
The students whistled and shouted, and called them by name:

“Now A-plus, and B-plus and C-plus and F!”
On pass/fail, incomplete, the shouting nearly made one deaf.

To the top of the wait list, to the bottom of the ladder
The students assumed that grades were be all that mattered.

But recommendations and public service and sports and ballet
Will also be factored by schools on D-day.

Now back to their houses, these students they came,
Looking for scapegoats to complain of and blame.

Then, in a twinkling, the news of the grades went away,
Some old friends had come over and they wanted to stay.

These friends were a year wiser, back from college on vacation,
Ready to tell of their exploits, with no procrastination.

They were dressed in school colors, from their head to the foot,
The school spirit they acquired, had certainly taken root.

With a bundle of preconceptions, they had left in the fall,
And now they were back home, with an urge to tell all.

Their message to their friends, who were still in high school,
Was quite simply to know that when it comes to colleges, there are no rules!

Another thing they wanted to share, but parents not to hear
Was that holiday cheer actually goes on all year.

And finally they wanted their younger friends to know,
That whatever and wherever the college they decided to go;

It would work out just fine, if they put in effort and care,
This at too many schools is exceedingly rare.

Now one thing that girls noted as they spoke in the noise,
Was that far too many colleges had far too few boys.

It seems that the reasons for this imbalance are vexing,
And schools – and boys’ parents – find solutions perplexing.

Now during this time of the holiday break,
I’d like to remind you of the promises we make.

We fight for you in Washington, we help you on Main St.,
We want America’s colleges to give your child a seat.

We want them to serve you in words and in deed,
And to award you based on your financial need.

We appreciate your support, in fact on it we depend,
So please talk about us, to all of your friends.

Tell them to join us in our continuing crusade,
To empower you to support your children and the plans they have made.

We welcome your feedback, your e-mails and calls,
Happy Holidays to each of our members, to each one and all.