Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Parents of High School Seniors During Application Season: You'll Make it Through

Dear Parents of High School Seniors During Application Season,

You and your child will make it through the application period. I promise. It may not seem like you will, but you will. You will.

I know, early applications can be due as early as Nov. 1st and you're nervous. You've been talking about and planning for college for years. You've visited colleges, talked to friends, reminisced and read everything you can online and in print. You've met with college advisors, your child's teachers and everyone else you can imagine doing.

You and your child will make it through. Wherever your child goes to school will work out. And while you may not want to consider the option, if the chosen college doesn't work out, your child can transfer. Every problem can be solved with some planning and forward thinking.

Hopefully your child will be accepted into his or her dream school. That is to say, presumably your child has a dream school. And a projected career and life path. But she may not and that's ok, too.

Every school can potentially work out. There are many classes, professors, clubs, sports, volunteer and internship opportunities that your child can try out as she learns about all of the various paths in life. In fact, she will (perhaps even mostly) learn outside of the classroom as a college student, too.

There are endless paths in life. And those paths can change, starting with high school dreams.

Many students enter college with an "undecided" major. The students take classes and try out disciplines that either weren't offered in high school or are now taught differently. Suddenly a student who thought she was an English major might fall in love with Chemistry. Or vice versa. Students should enter college with an open mind to discover new things. After all, college is the time to learn how to learn and what there is to learn. Learning won't end with a college or even post-graduate degree.

Many adults will change their career path a number of times throughout their lives (maybe seven?) Students should study many different things in college not only to discover what they love, but to learn facts and skills that can serve them in many fields. Remember that a post-graduate degree is time to specialize, but an undergraduate degree is to learn broadly.

Some parents say that their child is "different" because she wants to go to medical school or law school, so she doesn't have time to take a variety of classes. Some students indeed have a projected path and they continue to remain interested in that path throughout college. Remember that all people - regardless of fields - should be well-rounded in order to lead full lives (and, frankly, to be accepted into those specialized programs.) As a result, the students should still take a wide-variety of classes, in addition to the required or suggested pre-med path.

Today, take a deep breath. Take a break and go for a walk. Better yet, take your child on a walk under the trees changing colors this beautiful fall day. Enjoy nature and each other. Talk about something other than her applications. After all, next year she'll be away at college learning new things. Think of all the things you'll be able to talk about together in the near future.

Best, Chloe


To help with the application process, I'm available to help your child with his or her college application essays and short responses. For more details, please read more here and email me (chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com). 


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