Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child During the College Admission Process?

Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child During the College Admission Process?

Intense achievement pressure, particularly in affluent communities, can generate high levels of stress, anxiety, and/or depression in young people. We are sharing this from MCC, and hope you give it a read!

The questions and short quiz created by the team at Making Caring Common can help parents and caregivers (and even counselors like us!) be alert to red flags that they may be putting too much pressure on their student in the college admissions process.

College Admissions Red Flags: Quiz and questions for consideration

  1. During dinner conversations, do you often talk about your child’s grades and college applications, forgetting to ask your child what they find interesting and fun about school?

  2. When you meet with or contact your child’s teacher, do you ask primarily about grades and test scores? Do grades and test scores tend to crowd out discussions of whether your child seems to be enjoying school, is a good friend to others, and contributes to the classroom?

  3. Do you email or call your child’s teacher about assignments or grades more than once a month, even when your child is not having any problems (e.g., trouble completing homework, absence due to illness, etc.)?

  4. Does your child sometimes not eat or sleep well because he or she is worried about not performing at a high level in school?

  5. Do you press your child to take certain courses or participate in extracurricular activities in which they have little interest, or which are stressful for them, for the sake of college applications?

  6. Do you encourage your child to do certain community service projects that they are not interested in because you think these projects will be helpful for their college application?

  7. Do you sometimes allow your child to exaggerate or lie about the extent of their community service because it will help them get into a selective college?

  8. Do you ever encourage your child to apply to selective high schools or colleges based on prestige or commercial rankings, such as the U.S. News & World Report ranking, without considering whether the school is a good fit for your child’s personality and interests?

  9. Do you ever see your child’s peers as competition in the college application process—for example, telling your child not to let others know where they are applying to college because others might apply to the same school and hurt your child’s chances of getting into the same college?

  10. Do you sometimes pressure your child to engage in substantial college preparation while they are on vacation (e.g., intensively studying vocabulary cards or math problems), instead of ensuring that they have ample time to relax or play?

  11. Did you or do you plan to hire an SAT/ACT tutor or have your child take an SAT/ACT preparatory course before junior year of high school?

  12. When you visit colleges with your child, do you sometimes ask more questions than your child does on the tour or at the info session?

  13. If your child was not accepted at a selective high school or college, would you be embarrassed? Would it affect your self-esteem?

  14. If your child received a bad grade on a test or assignment, would you feel responsible or like a failure?

  15. Do you primarily visit and talk about highly selective colleges with your child, rather than a wide variety of colleges, including less-selective ones?

  16. Do you frequently think about whether your child is performing at a high level or will be accepted at a high-status college?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to take a look at the messages you may be inadvertently sending your child, and to talk with those you respect and trust about how you might reduce college admission pressure. Learn more about our Turning the Tide Initiative and use our tips for dialing down achievement pressure and raising caring kids.

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Advice for Artists Whose Parents Want Them to Be Engineers

Advice for Artists Whose Parents Want Them to Be Engineers

I’ve been slacking on article suggestions and reposts, so here we go! 

Doctors, lawyers and engineers make great societal contributions, too. Still, we will always need our poets and artists, our teachers and storytellers, our misfits and dreamers, contrarians and risk-takers.

A great read for parents, students, and college counselors. 

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Online Event for Parents: Navigating the College Process, Preparing for SAT/ACT, Raising Scores & Reducing Stress

Online Event for Parents: Navigating the College Process, Preparing for SAT/ACT, Raising Scores & Reducing Stress

Essential Information For Jewish Day School Parents: Navigating the College Process | Preparing for SAT/ACT | Raising Scores & Reducing Stress
 
Gain Effective Strategies & Get Your Questions Answered! 

Featuring:

Alan Dorfman, M.S., M.A., Founder of Elevation Tutoring
Alan directs an experienced tutoring team featuring top 1% SAT/ACT scorers that empower students to take tests with confidence and raise scores. He has helped hundreds of students over the last 15 years and graduated from The University of Pennsylvania.
alan@elevationtutoring.com | elevationtutoring.com

Dr. Brittany Maschal, Founder of Brittany Maschal Consulting
Brittany held positions in admissions and student services at Penn, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins University before transitioning to independent college counseling in 2012. Her small team of counselors and essay experts work with students and families eager to find best-fit schools with less stress.
hello@brittany.consulting | brittany.consulting

May 26, 2021, 8:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

REGISTER HERE!

 

Free Online Event: Financing Your College Education

Free Online Event: Financing Your College Education

From the Coalition for College:

We’ve all heard that college is expensive. If you’re wondering if it’s in reach for you, join us for our next panel discussion, where we’ll talk about the cost of college, paying for it, and strategies for graduating with low or no debt.

Join us Thursday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET | 5 p.m. PT, along with admissions officers from Illinois College, Manhattan College, Stony Brook University, and Wellesley College, who will all share their top college affordability advice and answer your questions.

REGISTER. 

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10th and 11th Graders: College Planning Starts Now!

10th and 11th Graders: College Planning Starts Now!

By 10th and 11th-grade college talk should be fairly consistent—especially if you are, or have a student who is—aiming to attend a selective college or university. The majority of our work with students, which includes summer planning, narrative development (your “story” for college), compiling school lists, and completing the personal statement, app data, and a comprehensive resume—starts in 10th and early in 11th grade. If this is you (or your student!) there is no better time to start the process than right now.

Sophomores should consider the following:

  • Starting to prep for standardized exams early. Don’t wait until spring of your junior year to begin prep. We have a small list of tutors that we can highly recommend; don’t leave who you work with up to chance.
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. S/he will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other.
  • Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you heavily involved with any of your extracurricular activities (other than sports)? Look for leadership opportunities in school and consider activities outside of school as well. Does your resume point toward a major? It should start to at this time, and if it does not, that should be a goal for your summer plans.

And juniors, it’s not too late to:

  • Prep for and take the ACT or SAT. Yes, schools are going to be test-optional this year, but high test scores always help!
  • Meet with your school guidance counselor. S/he will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other. Talk about your goal schools and your high school’s track record at those schools. Get their take on schools that are going to be a fit, and hash out a preliminary application plan.
  • Visit the websites of the schools you are interested in, explore the admissions and academics pages, attend ALL of the virtual offerings offered, and sign up for a peer guide with us to really go above and beyond in your research. Now is the time to kick your college research into high gear.
  • Start your Common App essay brainstorming. Ask us how!
  • Plan your summer wisely. You’ll want to use this summer to round out your resume and make sure it’s pointed toward your intended major, and you’ll also want to finish most of your applications. Make a plan now because you don’t want to be playing catch-up in the fall.

Email us or fill out the contact form to schedule a consult and find out how we can support you in your college planning and application process!

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Rejection Often Happens Because of a Lack of Fit

When someone rejects you, it helps to remember that there’s another you.

Each year since it was posted, I have revisited a wonderful article by Adam Grant on rejection.

We are thankful that most of our students gain admission to their top choice schools in the EA, ED 1, or ED 2 rounds. But every year, we wait for RD results alongside students who were not so lucky or strategic in their choices. I love seeing students’ “pictures” come together in their applications, and I don’t love the anxiety that leads up to decision releases and knowing how hard most students (and many of their parents) take rejection.

As someone who has been rejected an appropriate amount, How to Bounce Back From Rejection is something I know well. However, it is not something you can really teach or prepare a student for when it comes to the college process. It is especially tough during a sea change year (i.e., this year) and when there is a lot of misinformation and misguidance around how hard it really is to get into top schools in the US, but this post is not about that!

What Grants points out that I hope all students and parents can keep in mind is rejection often happens for a reason: lack of fit. It is not entirely personal or a reflection of your whole self or success as a student. You don’t control a school’s behind-the-scenes institutional priorities, and they are shifting drastically. Sometimes, no matter how qualified you are on paper, you are not what a school needs and there is simply nothing that you can do about it. 

Please keep in mind:

We are more than the bullet points on our resumes. We are better than the sentences we string together into a word salad under the magnifying glass of an interview. No one is rejecting us. They are rejecting a sample of our work, sometimes only after seeing it through a foggy lens.

Hang in there, folks! In the end, things almost always tend to work out just how they should.

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Junior Jumpstart: Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Pomona, Swarthmore, and Williams

Junior Jumpstart: Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Pomona, Swarthmore, and Williams

Event Alert!

The college search is already challenging for students and families. So Amherst, Bowdoin, Carleton, Pomona, Swarthmore, and Williams are putting their rivalries aside, and hosting a series of virtual events for students, families, and counselors.

Students: RSVP for the events that interest you, and browse recordings of previous sessions at the bottom of the page. You can also fill out one easy form to get admission information about each school.

Image: sixcolleges.org

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Why B Students Make Great Leaders

Why B Students Make Great Leaders

As a solid B student myself in high school, I love articles that normalize B’s. As a college counselor, of course I have to be transparent about the A expectation of top colleges and universities. However, many of my B students have gone on to do great things in college and in life—no Ivy-league or top-30 school required.

Two of my favorite takeaways from this old-ish article that I have seen be true for some of my favorite B students:

  • Leading rarely has anything to do with pure intellect alone.
  • B students flourish by using a combination of good-enough mental horsepower with a kind of emotional intelligence that gives them the ability to relate to people.

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Do Your Best

Do Your Best

In a recent Inside Higher Ed article, W. Kent Barnds reflects on what he should have told his daughter and thousands of other high school students: just do your best. 

As we approach the time of year when it can be easy to lose sight of what matters (regarding college admissions!) it is worth a read!

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Dear Struggling Parents, It’s Not Just You.

Dear Struggling Parents, It’s Not Just You.

TIME’s It’s Not Just You newsletter is a good one. This past week it was a letter to parents of teens, many of whom are struggling right now, plus a selection of expert pandemic parenting advice.

Parenting teenagers in the middle of a once-in-100-years pandemic is hard, doing so while they are applying to college in a year when the whole college process has blown up, and it’s even harder.

Check out the newsletter or signup here.

 

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