“HANGING back and allowing children to make mistakes is one of the greatest challenges of parenting.” This is perhaps one of the best points made in a recent NY Times article, Raising Successful Children, and couldn’t be more poignant than in the fall of your child’s senior year.
There’s a lot more at stake (or so it feels) in today’s world of college admissions. This makes it all the easier for parents to want to step in, sometimes at the expense of allowing a child to learn from the process itself. So how do you avoid overstepping the bounds? Read our Top 5 Parental Tips on Managing the Application Process for a start:
Can you believe it’s nearly August? Because the Common Application goes “live” on August 1, some would argue the last week of July is the last week of summer. While technically it’s still summer, time is passing! So what’s your college application plan? Your child’s future is nearly here. Are you ready? Do you have your timeline set for the next few months? Know what’s coming? You can learn how to have a stress free rest-of-summer with our “Ten pre-application steps.” Download it now before the summer passes you by!
It’s a pretty common scenario, especially at larger high schools: guidance counselors not personally knowing each and every student to whom they are assigned. This might not worry you much as a parent until you rummage through your child’s set of college applications and realize this same guidance counselor is required to write a letter of recommendation for her. But don’t panic, it’s not as dire a situation as you might think! Our college admissions experts help students get over this hurdle every year.
Though it’s true a personal connection between guidance counselor and student might be helpful in multiple respects, the purpose of the guidance letter is not necessarily meant to be personal. What information do school reports, as guidance recommendations are so often called, usually answer, then? Colleges are most curious about:
When the junior year winds down, it’s hard to focus on anything outside standardized testing, but students should be aware that the last month or two of school is also the perfect time to approach teachers for a letter of recommendation. This soon? Yes — this soon. Because “this” really isn’t all that “soon.” Starting the college admissions process early is key to keeping everyone’s stress levels down. After all, college application deadlines start as early as next fall — they’ll be upon you before you know it!
Teachers are busy people who like to plan ahead. If they know as early as May or June for whom they will be writing a letter of recommendation, they can factor into their schedules ample time to think about and write their letters. You don’t really want your teacher rushing through your letter of recommendation, do you?
In an effort to beat back the demographic headwinds now working against them, some colleges and universities are coming up with ever more clever ways to maintain their “uber-selective” titles. They’re using every weapon within their recruitment and selectivity arsenal — from demographics to yield to just plain making it easy to apply — to improve their relative rank.
As colleges and universities conspire against one another for prestige, how do students avoid becoming collateral damage, victims of the college application arms race? If you want to dodge the proverbial thin envelope, consider these three simple rules of engagement:
Can students be blamed for thinking they have to apply to 100 colleges just to get admitted somewhere? Think about it. The population of high school graduates was supposed to have peaked in 2008, but colleges and universities are still finding creative ways to round up new applicants. As a result, admit rates are being driven down to staggering levels. A few examples:
Over the last week I enjoyed four conversations with four different college bound students about their summer plans:
The college admissions process has become an American Rite of Passage, albeit a stressful and confusing one. At a certain point as a parent, it seems to be the ever present topic of conversation whether on the sidelines at a soccer game, waiting in the car pool line, or even catching up at family parties. Many of us, as parents, see our children getting into the “right” college as the culmination of the past 17 years of raising that child. Everyone has a strong opinion, a scary story, a conspiracy theory — most of them categorically wrong. There are massive but unreliable resources online. Frankly, it is almost impossible to avoid making mistakes, and some of them can be major.
I remember my days in the admissions offices at the University of Pennsylvania and Boston University. I read more than 1,000 applications each year and made final decisions (mostly “no’s”) on most of them. So often when reviewing an application I’d sigh to myself and even say out loud, “You could have done this better…”