A day off from work to take care of the details of life is a huge gift. And on this President’s Day, I’m celebrating having time to wrap up the last of the seemingly never-ending forms that are required in the college application process. I spent the day copying the tax returns, W-2s, and 1099s for us and Jennifer because a couple of the schools that Jennifer is applying to want to make sure that we didn’t under-report any of our income on the 20 page CSS Profile. That form makes filling out the FAFSA seem fun but again, I was grateful to have the day off on MLK Day to do it.

The copies of all these tax and financial documents – they stopped short of asking for our last Mastercard bill to see if we fall into the category of Nordstrom or Dollar Store shoppers – will be on their way tomorrow to the College Board where Northwestern and Villanova can probe the depths of our financial situation before determining if they accept Jennifer (she thinks it’s a long shot) and if they will pony up an scholarship money.

I looked up how many high school seniors apply to Northwestern and it’s about 32,000; so by the deadline of March 3, 32,000 packets of tax returns will arrive at a PO Box in Illinois to be scanned in and plugged into some hugely complex algorithm to spit out the award letters for the 18% of students who will be accepted.

While we are very proud that Jennifer did her research to select the schools she wanted to apply to and really owned the application process with only a little bit of nagging from me about upcoming deadlines, the reality is that there is a very good chance that even if she does get accepted, she would have to borrow the cost of a Mercedes sedan in order to attend one of these prestigious schools. That just not something we will let her do.

We have been encouraging her to come up with a Plan B – go to the JC, get an internship and try again in two years. That…and in the meantime, pray a lot. I know we are.