Offer week is upon us! This happens three times a year, and it always gets a little wild. First off, if you don’t know the offer date head over to childlife.org and you can find the outlined dates for application deadlines and offer dates. Most hospitals follow this date outline, but it’s not a requirement so be sure to check each hospital’s website or ask at the end of your interview if they follow the ACLP deadlines.
Here are a few questions that I get asked frequently.
How do hospitals contact you on offer day?
Offers can come through email or phone. Be sure to clear out your voicemailbox to make sure there is room for any messages! Also, check your voicemail to make sure it is professional. (Hopefully, you did this before interview season!)
What time can hospitals contact you?
While there is an outlined time frame, I find that many hospitals do not follow that timeline. I personally remember that my first offer came in first thing in the morning through email. My second offer came through a phone call a few hours later. Remember, that some hospitals function in different time zones so if you are on the east coast waiting on a call from the west coast, it might be a little later!
How long do I have to respond?
Typically, you have about 24 hours to accept or decline the offer. This can feel very stressful and many students get concerned that they still have hospitals they are waiting to hear from. Unfortunately, that is the nature of offer day. It can be very risky to turn down an offer while you wait for your top choice. If you receive multiple offers on offer day and know that you aren’t accepting an offer from a hospital it is courteous to the hospital and your fellow students to go ahead and decline it so that they can move on to their next person.
What if I don’t get an offer on Tuesday?
I like to call if offer WEEK. I’ve had students receive offers as late as Friday that week! If each person has 24 hours to respond and takes their full 24 hours and you are third on their list it might take until Friday to get to you. Being a hospital’s first pick versus the third pick is not a reflection of your skills and abilities as a future child life specialist!
How should I spend my day?
Everyone does this day differently. My roommate went home to be with family that week. Meanwhile, I stayed in Texas and went to work just as usual. I wanted to keep things as normal as possible for myself while also distracting my mind from spiraling into the “what if’s”. Be intentional about your week and consider what you need for your mental and physical health.
What if I don’t get an offer at all?
Unfortunately, this is a very real possibility for many students. I don’t need to explain to you the level of competition out there and the bottleneck our profession is experiencing, you get it. This still doesn’t make the rejection any easier. After this week, it will be up to you to decide what you want for yourself and your career.
If you decide to apply again, consider your plan for the next round. What experiences may help you continue learning and interview better next round? Do you enlist a mentor for help?
If you decide not to apply again, that is totally fine. There are so many wonderful career opportunities out there that allow you to support and work with children. I guarantee you will find something that will be fulfilling and will utilize your unique skill set.
This week is a good week to find a mantra that helps you get through.