September 23, 2006

Instructions for Parents of Would-Be College Students

1) Who is going to school? Your kid. Not you. Keep saying it until you believe it.
2) If your student is not yet a junior in high school, forget about "what the colleges want." Focus on supporting her in taking on new challenges, and helping her follow her leadings.
3) Start getting a grip on finances. You're gonna need it.
4) Define success on your kid's terms.
5) Want schools to give your student a fair shake? Do the same for schools. Some of the colleges and universities that represent a terrific match for your student are probably schools you've never heard of.
5) Visit schools.
6) Take pictures and notes.
7) Understand that coaches and admissions people are nice to your kid, in part, because it's their job.
8) Calling schools for applications, information, and appointments? The student's job. NOT yours. For real.
9) Ditto "thank you" notes.
10) Sit your student down and tell them, kindly, that who they are – their integrity, their work ethic, their curiousity, their flexibility, their attitude, their sense of humor – will always be more important than where they did their undergraduate work. Repeat until you both believe it.

(Heaven help me, my day job has temporarily taken over my brain.)

(Want some instructions that might be more relevant
to your life? Check out Sunday Scribblings this week.)


paris parfait said...

Excellent points! Nice take on the instructions prompt.

TMTW said...

Very good points. I think it's hard not to get caught up in the college frenzy... but sanity dictates that we take it one step at a time.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in the Dean's office of a large university, so I wish all parents would read this list--especially #8 and #9. Thank you!

Maya's Granny said...

A wonderful list. When I was getting ready to apply for college, in 1959, the great-aunt I lived with was willing to pay and to advise, but it was my job to do and to decide what I wanted to be and where I wanted to go. It worked out very well.

JAXTER said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

These were great instructions! Perfect for someone like me who has a long way to go before my child starts college prep. Yet, I know it will pass so quickly.

TI said...

Loads of sound advice, especially the stuff about who's going and who's responsibility it is. I also like the point that there are lots of excellent but lesser known schools.

Anonymous said...

Shelley, I am guessing you work as a high school guidance counselor or college advisor? If so, you might appreciate a book I just read called Jane Austen in Scarsdale, whose protagonist has that profession. Hilarious, but also full of what seemed like good common sense. As was your list. We are still several years away from that rite of passage, but every exposure to sanity on the subject is good.

Stacy said...

This was terrific. Can we put it out in triplicate each year?

Lil said...

LOL - can you repost this in about 7 years??!

Laura said...

Thank you.

Thank you!


Anonymous said...

This is a really great list. It's hard to get over the fact that it's THEM going to college, though, isn't it? I have a while to psych myself up;)

My new address:

Anonymous said...

Well done! Great list. Maybe these instructions should start about 10 years before college!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to frame this. Thanks so much for these words of this!

TI said...

HI Shelly. As requested, I posted my list of likes:
Have a great day! TI