College Application Process: 5 Lessons Learned

The Washington Post: “Katie Miller recently graduated from Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md., and is very relieved to be finished with the painful process of applying to colleges.” Here are some of the lessons she learned along the way:

“1. Be prepared for disappointment. Nothing truly readies you for the feeling of defeat that comes with opening a letter of denial.”

“2. Accept that aspects of this arduous process will simply be inexplicable … While some websites claim they can tell students which elements of the application different schools value, maybe it depends on factors as arbitrary as who sits down to read the essay.”

“3. Even when you think you have done everything right, you’ve probably gotten something wrong … Overlooking wrongly labeled classes and failing to double-check them with my counselor put me at a disadvantage … You will never get full disclosure from a university admissions office, but by calling and asking why I was denied, I learned that my mistakes led the office of undergraduate admissions to believe that I had dropped AP and honors-level courses.”

“4. There is a time and place for modesty and the college application process is not it … Especially today, as colleges’ standards continue to raise, it’s vital to take advantage of all accomplishments, because there are probably a thousand other kids with the same ones.”

“5. Give serious consideration to all the schools on your list, because your final choice may surprise you … I have realized that the college experience has less to do with the school name, location and reputation, and more to do with what you accomplish there.”

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Summertime Advice: Preparing To Leave The Nest

The Washington Post: “Here are a few tips on how to slow down the emotional merry-go-round” of the summer before your child leaves for college: “Try to schedule some fun activities that the whole family can enjoy … one-on-one time with your child doing something they love … Allow your children plenty of time to be with friends … They may not want to share their fears with you, but will probably be comfortable commiserating with their compatriots who are starting off on their own adventures.”

“Shop till you drop — together … one of the best bonding experiences of the summer will be shopping with your child for the dorm. Listen to your children and take in their preferences, without censure … Sit down with your children and plan the move-in day together so everyone knows what to expect. Cover every detail, including your exit time.”

“When that long awaited and dreaded day finally arrives on your calendar, you’ll want to be on your A-game — prepared, rested and ready to go with the flow. Stay organized, have snacks and bring tissues. Resolve to hold it together so you can be there for your kid. One more tip: Leave the dorm-room door open when unpacking so he can meet his neighbors.”

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