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Rox
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Noted for discussion in a future post. Thanks again for commenting!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Thanks!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I couldn't agree more with your comment. They do indeed have only one childhood, and they ought to be able to actually be kids for the whole thing -- not worker bees toiling away toward an end that may be markedly less rewarding than their childhood time of discovery. : ) Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I don't know that it's ever a bad idea to reach out to a teacher if, say, your kid's homework is taking 2 hours/night in a single subject. It wouldn't matter to me what other kids are doing; it would matter what my own kid is doing and why. If he doesn't understand it or if it's a challenge, it may still require adjustment so that it's not so burdensome on the student. I do understand and agree with doing some legwork first, most especially talking to the kid, but I guess I've had such great conversations with teachers about homework loads that I'm more optimistic about a positive outcome here. I appreciate your input and thank you for commenting!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
THIS: "finding out what you actually care about and pursuing it with the vigor of meaning is what sets you apart. because it's a tough, competitive world out there. you succeed because you care about something not because your parents did." --> YES. Thanks for commenting!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I really liked your letter! And I'm horrified that an admissions officer suggested that a resume painting a picture of a sleep-deprived kid is okay ... horrified, but not surprised. A lot of schools do seem to expect superhumans -- more accomplishments in 4 years of HS than many adults will have in a lifetime. I just don't get it. My mantra for admissions will remain: kids doing as well as they can academically while caring about being good people, following their passions, and being curious about the world are ideal candidates. That mantra can, but isn't always, good enough for the Harvards of the world. I wish it always were. Thanks for commenting and for sharing your link!
Toggle Commented 6 days ago on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I agree! Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
That makes me sad, Fran, but it's true -- and my town has started to see that. (In fairness, I do not know if any of our teen suicides are related to college admissions, but I do know that a lot of kids are stressed because of it.) In any event, I like your "I can" approach. You're right -- as parents, we CAN have power to change this, and I hope we will. Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
You touched on something few have: a statement with which I disagree, "good grades help financially." How so? Merit aid is decently hard to come by, and need-based aid has a high bar ... Getting a full-ride is almost as hard as getting into a "ranked" school. "Good" schools don't necessarily mean less debt; in fact, they can cause a heck of a lot more, since you definitely pay for the brand. So be careful with that. If kids are feeling financial pressure on top of achievement pressure, that can't be good for them. No one wants a kid to graduate with a mountain of debt, true -- but what's the cost of kids aiming for realistic schools and picking among them, including among financial aid packages? For my kids, I'll help where I can and hope that they get some aid, but, at the end of the day, I want them to pick their schools. If that means loans, we'll discuss what that means; but I'd rather they not think about the cost of college until envelopes are in-hand. There's just too much pressure and too little results delivered from it. Thanks for commenting; you raised an important issue!
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I greatly appreciate your thoughtful comment including your daughter's story. Best wishes to her as she finds her way.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Permission granted to print the link, Carroll, and I'm grateful for your comment.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Thank you very much for sharing your stories. It is thrilling to hear of a family whose child found a college that is such a great fit, and I wish the same for your son. And I do hear you re: the messed-up system that is APs. I wish they'd be done away with altogether, frankly, and that education could (re)become just about learning, not about prepping for yet another test, to score a number, to get into college, to then test out of something ... it's so exhausting. Kids deserve better. Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Fabulous. Thanks for sharing!
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Indeed, it's hard. My kids grew up going to reunions (and leadership committee meetings, and more) at my own alma maters that they likely won't attend. Perhaps the message that we need to send to our kids is that their differentiation from us is okay -- and we need to mean it. Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 18, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Thanks for commenting; I'm glad you liked the piece, and I'm always grateful to hear from another parent who believes in making kids sleep enough. My daughter has maintained healthy sleep habits while away at school after initially balking at keeping her home-schedule; she feels it's necessary to her well-being, just like eating vegetables (her words). That seems to be something BIG parents can do that flows into all other aspects of what our kids do.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I think there's a difference between parents "encouraging" and parents "pushing" -- and personally, I don't think that "pushing" is helping kids these days. To some extent, I'm with you -- my parents had expectations for me to do my best in school, and I have the same ones for my kids. But there seems to be a marked difference between expecting a kid to do his or her best and expecting a kid to be THE best. It's that kind of pressure that I think is way, way too much -- and too many parents think their kid could be THE best, whether at APs, or in soccer, or at QuizBowl ... just too much pressure. And that's the thing: I don't know that it's necessary for parents to be part of "working under pressure." School and peers provide enough. Why can't mom and dad just be there with emotional support and a good environment in which to grow, with reasonable expectations and a definition of success that doesn't come attached to a title? I push back on this vibe in my community, hard. I do welcome your point of view though and am glad you commented; it helps all involved to see the range of thought on this issue. Thanks. PS - Also, yes, thanks for noticing that I didn't comment re: race. It was intentional. I don't know that anyone, at least where I live, is exempt from this pressure.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Agreed. Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Thanks for your comment. I greatly appreciate its entry into the dialogue and note that I do disagree with two important things: 1) In your first paragraph, you write "some parents CAN rightfully believe their child will be accepted to at least one Ivy" -- no, no, no. Seriously, emphatically, NO. There is no child in America whose parents can be assured of their admission into at least one Ivy. NO kid is guaranteed admission. Noted: some kids do get in, obviously. But parents (and especially kids) should not read the list you presented and view it as a prescription. I can assure you that kids with that whole script -- straight As, flawless APs, perfect or nearly-perfect scores, a "resume" of accomplishments, volunteerism, seemingly the whole package -- unfortunately are denied admission routinely at top schools. Hopefully if you have that kid, they apply to the "right" school who is looking for someone just like him or her ... But this is where the "crapshoot" comes in. It is best to believe that any school with an admit rate in the single percentages is a crap shoot for ALL applicants. That just keeps expectations real. Of course, I'm delighted for any kid who beats those odds -- but even "perfect" ones ARE beating the odds to gain admission to those schools. (I stake my graduate degree in this field on that, seriously.) 2) giving parents credit for kids' academic success at all. I just don't believe in that when the kids are the ones doing the work. In fact, I think this is exactly my point: parents can't make their kids successful academically or more likely to get into an Ivy. Sure, we can live in the "right" town and send our kids to the "right" schools, and provide comfortable homes and meals, and that has something to do with who the kid is -- of course. And we can push them to work harder and do better and aim higher -- and it seems like a lot of that is happening here in the Valley when a lot of kids just need love, period, and a safe home. They sure do face a lot of pressure from peers as it is and from within themselves. Of course, parents want their kids to achieve their potential; this is different from saying when the kids do achieve, the parent should get a nod for it. Let's give the credit to the kids. As well, in my experience, I found that many top college students come from homes that are not as privileged as we are here in the Valley -- including many "finds" for my schools where the home was quite the antithesis of a safe learning environment. Kids bootstrapping it despite the odds are pretty darned amazing.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
You're welcome forever! I'm glad you found the piece helpful.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Yep. Thanks.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Only one thing? Bummer. ; )
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
"Where is the learning in all of this?" EXACTLY. Thanks for commenting.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
Thanks for your comment. I think you're the first to bring up the issue of an ex-spouse setting a different tone. Ours is a split-home too, and I wonder what will come of my kids getting different messages or having different expectations from each of us (or if they will). Time will tell, I guess.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
That statistic surprises me (but then again, I worked for competitive schools and read a lot of outstanding applications, so there's some selection bias there) -- but what I probably need to add is that there are a lot of perfect ACT scores (a lot more than perfect SAT scores) too. So ... I'm pretty sure that Harvard could still fill its freshman class with perfection. The number of kids who are only 1-2 questions missed away from perfection astronomically increases that number, too. I could change it to read "nearly-perfect," and that would still resonate and be accurate. Thanks for pointing that out.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll
I have a lot of thoughts on this one. When I was a kid, I was going to finish the curriculum in my (native, West Virginia) high school by the end of 10th grade. Being a smart kid, I looked at colleges with my parents and was considering college at 15. There are some (Simon's Rock, Johns Hopkins, and yes, Harvard) that were known at the time for taking young kids. While in my Harvard interview, the tutor conducting it pointed my family to a nearby boarding high school -- one that sought Appalachian kids -- and suggested that I spend another couple years being a kid before going to college. So, I did just that. By contrast, my brilliant younger brother had a PhD by age 22. He didn't do HS at all, attended a local college, thrived in his studies, and ended up with 2 advanced degrees by his mid-20s. Meanwhile, our local HS has an option for "middle college" after 10th grade for kids who want to get an AA (and I see it as for kids who want to opt out of the AP-pressure cookers that are our local HS). A graduate from that last year went on to my small liberal arts college, so it's not affecting admissions adversely to do that path. What's the right answer? Based on my experience, I think being a kid -- and really being a kid, which does involve things like pep band and youth group, not just AP homework -- is the best path, mostly because it worked for me (and hey -- we only get 1 shot at our youth!). But the alternate paths worked well for my brother and for my friend's kid, so ... perhaps the best path is the one that the kid chooses, and it'll be pretty obvious if she's thriving. Doing something -- like an AA program, or like taking 4 APs at once -- just because everyone else is is never a good reason. I've read those applications; those kids look forward to getting to college because they can finally do clubs that reflect their interests, etc., since they may not have gotten to do that in HS, mostly based on their workloads. Following passions and being their best self (not just in the classroom but on their playing fields and in their world too) is what's best for kids, don't you think? And by "being their best self," I don't mean "The Best." The point of my piece lies in that difference. Thanks for commenting, and best wishes to your daughter.
Toggle Commented Nov 14, 2014 on Parents: let Harvard go at Rox and Roll