One Word Parents Should Eliminate in College Admissions

Greetings! I am deep in the heart of application season, so my September post is behind schedule. I have one public service announcement on behalf of colleges and college applicants: there is no WE in college admissions!

Here are some things that I have overheard well-meaning parents say:

“We were hoping to get a 1400 on the SAT.”

“We have finished our applications.”

“We are applying Early Decision to _______________________.” (insert name of college here)

“We are scoring in the 1300s on the practice SAT.”

“We are almost done with the essay.”

“We are not sending scores.”

We all love our children and want the best for them. However, if you have a senior in high school, at this point in time, they are less than eight months away from submitting a deposit and you are about eleven months away from leaving them on a college campus. It is time to step away and allow the student to own the process. 

A good analogy for this is to think about a competitive swimmer. Parents that attend a meet are in the stands. They are not in the pool with their child as they swim in a race. And this is how to think about this process. One has to psychologically get out of the pool and go sit in the bleachers as their child negotiates this passage. That is hard! But the cold reality is that the more you step away now and let your child own their college admission journey, the more likely they are to arrive on a campus, prepared to engage, excel academically and thrive socially. 

So I know, it is hard to step back. I encourage families to start by changing their verbiage and dropping the “we”. In the end “we” are not going to college, just your child is. 

PS If you want some thoughts on how to handle friends and acquaintances that ask about your child’s college plans, read my post “Don’t Fall In Love”.

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