twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Surviving College Application Season

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Guest blogger Kate Tuttle: Those of us who have teenagers know that it's a mixed blessing. Very mixed. On the one hand, there's the likelihood they will be leaving our houses after they graduate from high school and head off to college. We can't imagine how they will be able to take care of themselves. Sometimes the worry keeps us up nights. We know that our hearts will break.

application form
On the other hand ... well, for a lot of us, the anticipation of our teenager leaving the house has a kind of silver-lining quality. We'll turn their bedroom into a guest room! We'll no longer have to endure half-hour-long battles every morning trying to rouse a seemingly comatose teenager from her bed, facing a snarling wrath that makes us wonder why she never tried out for a role in an "Exorcist" remake. The house will no longer smell of hockey bag and hair product. OK, so our hearts will still break. 

But before we reach that point, we need to get the teenagers into college. And if you've been reading anything in the news lately, you know that it's much, much harder to do that today than when we were the ones applying to schools. It's estimated that this year's crop of college applicants will be the largest in U.S. history -- which means that the competition is even more cutthroat and the pressure has reached unbearable levels (especially if you live in one of those suburban towns that prides itself on having "good schools"). While every family is different, it seems like all of us are feeling that extra anxiety. So here are a few ground rules to help parents handle college application season. 

Don't believe the hype 
A lot of what I read about applying to colleges seems to apply to, well, some other family. We're not likely to be sending our teenager to an Ivy League school, nor send applications (at $50 to $100 a pop) to two dozen schools. I'm guessing we're not the only ones, but when I read articles in the New York Times and Washington Post, it feels like every other parent out there is spending thousands of dollars on coaches and application consultants to try to get their kids into just the right school. But those who work in the field say they're horrified by how overinvolved and pressure-driven today's parents are, and they recommend calming down. Don't start researching colleges for your ninth grader, and if your twelfth grader hasn't totally finalized his list yet, that's OK.  

Do help, Don't take over 
Choosing where to apply, completing the application and deciding where to go to college are some of the first truly huge decisions your teenager will make, and how she navigates this path will have big implications for her future. So yes, she deserves your guidance and your expertise. But no, you cannot do it for her -- neither the choosing nor the writing of essays. This is her life, her job, her course to map. As hard as it is, now is the time to practice that exquisitely painful job of letting go. How you manage to walk alongside her, neither pushing nor dragging, is a good window into how your future relationship will go, as you begin to make the transition from caregiver of a child to parent of a (young) adult. Your child might make some bad choices, will definitely face rejection, may openly defy you to make choices that seem terribly wrong at the time (some of which will turn out to be right). This is the hardest part of parenting, by far, but if you play your cards right you will have a good relationship with your son or daughter long after they leave your house -- and they might even invite you to stay in theirs for holidays a decade or two into the future. 

As they enter adulthood, savor the childhood that's ending 
One thing I've learned over 17 years of parenting my daughter is that no matter how rocky things get, we can always reconnect over cookies and ice cream. When she was little, we would sit down together and watch Disney movies -- "Mulan," "Pocahontas" -- and snuggle together on the couch. Now that she's older, I sit with her and watch whatever she wants -- "Gossip Girl," "Jersey Shore" -- entertainment I wouldn't always choose but which always leads me into better understanding her and the generation she's growing up in. Spending time in her world, putting myself into her shoes -- this is how we've stayed connected throughout her childhood. Now that she's about to leave us, it seems more crucial than ever that we share these moments. Looking together at her future is so exciting but so scary, with so many things unknown, that sometimes we both need to retreat into a shared past. Because no matter where she goes to college, or what path her life will take after that, she'll always have a spot on my couch, and her "Little Mermaid" ice-cream bowl.

next: Seven Reasons I'm Thankful To Be an At-Home Parent
35 comments so far | Post a comment now
zara November 29, 2010, 1:11 AM
Carolina December 3, 2010, 2:16 AM

There is always that chance that you don’t like your roommate. There will always be that time that both of you are in complete opposite opinions. However, to make life easier, you need to learn how to get along. If you are upset with your roommate, leave, get some fresh air and breath.When I was in college for 70-680 exam preparation I observed real problems of college life.Calm down. Remember, you have no choice but to live with him or her. It is better to make friends than enemies.

Leah December 7, 2010, 10:51 AM

The College Caboodle is a product that helps teens and parents keep up with all the paperwork and deadlines during high school in preparation of the college application process. Check it out, holiday special running now through December!

Annie Dean December 7, 2010, 1:44 PM

What a great tool! My daughter and I need help staying organized and were just talking about all the catalogs on the dining room table. THANK YOU! I just orderd our College Caboodle!

online payday loan December 10, 2010, 5:26 AM

I’d been pretty pleased to discover this website.I wanted to we appreciate you a great read!! I definitely enjoying every part of it and I have you ever bookmarked to check out new belongings you post.

pay day loan December 10, 2010, 5:48 AM

Hello from Russia! Could it be practical for me to pages and use a submit with your weblog while using connect to you? I’ve tried contacting you about this problem nevertheless it seems i cant reach you, please response when possess a moment, thanks.

fast payday loans December 10, 2010, 7:57 AM

To be sure completely with your conclusions and feel that you’ve made some excellent points. Also, I like design of this site and the simplicity of navigation. I’ve bookmarked your website and definately will return often!

pay day loans December 10, 2010, 8:36 AM

I agree completely using your conclusions and believe you’ve made some excellent points. Also, I prefer layout , design of the site plus the simple navigation. I’ve bookmarked your site and can return often!

payday loans no credit check December 10, 2010, 8:45 AM

Hey! I would like to leave a comment. I seriously enjoyed this article. Maintain the awesome effort.

Josefine December 12, 2010, 10:25 AM

I always wished to be able to write on my web page something like that. I typically don’t post comments in personal blogs but yet your website forced me to, impressive job.… My kind regards, Josefine.

cash advance loans December 13, 2010, 3:20 PM

Wow, that’s an extremely nice read!

fast payday loans December 13, 2010, 3:40 PM

I loved this post. You describe this topic very well. When hiring home contractors it can be factor to pick a trusted name in construction. Experienced and efficient staff should shoot for excellence and seriously consider every detail of your property.

instant payday loans December 13, 2010, 5:41 PM

Hi I stumbled upon this website by mistake when i was searching yahoo with this issue, I must say your website is really helpful I also love the theme, its amazing!. I dont have very much time and energy to read your complete post right now but I have bookmarked it and in addition subscribed to your RSS feeds. We are the government financial aid a couple of days. many thanks a fantastic site.

fast payday loans December 13, 2010, 6:20 PM

I loved this post. You describe this topic very well. When hiring home contractors it is answer to go with a trusted name in construction. Experienced and efficient staff should shoot for excellence and absorb every detail of your property.

no fax payday loans December 13, 2010, 6:29 PM

Hi I came across this page in error after i was searching yahoo just for this issue, I can say your site is really helpful Furthermore love the theme, its amazing!. I dont have a whole lot time and energy to read your entire post currently but We have bookmarked it as well as decided upon your RSS feeds. I will be back a few days. thank you for a fantastic site.

instant payday loans December 13, 2010, 6:59 PM

Kudos for posting a really useful weblog. Your website isn’t only informative but additionally very artistic too. There are often very several individuals who can write less than simple articles that creatively. Sustain the favorable writing !!

payday loan December 14, 2010, 9:48 AM

Hey! Wanted to depart a comment. I truly enjoyed this article. Maintain the awesome effort.

pay day loan December 14, 2010, 10:09 AM

Wow, that’s quite a nice read!

instant payday loans December 14, 2010, 12:06 PM

I agree along with your thoughts here and that i really like your blog! I’ve bookmarked it in order that I could revisit & read more later on.

pay day loans December 14, 2010, 12:43 PM

I loved this post. You describe this topic well. When hiring home contractors it truly is step to opt for a trusted name in construction. Experienced and efficient staff should strive for excellence and pay close attention to every detail of your property.

Back to top >>