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Another admissions story (very long post)

Jensmom27Jensmom27 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
I’ve never posted before, but began reading the parents forum last year when my daughter was a junior, and wanted to say thank you so much to all of the people here who asked questions and all of those who answered them. I have learned an incredible amount here, all of which helped me to much better support her as she went though the journey of looking for, and ultimately finding the college that she will attend next fall.

The first thing I learned was that it was her journey, and not mine. My job was to provide support and some logistics, and to be clear about finances, but I really had to learn how to step back and let her be in the driver’s seat for the process. Sometimes I did this well, and sometimes not. It was at times difficult to not let my own anxiety spill over and affect her. Anxiety is circular and contagious. It was my responsibility to recognize when mine was popping up, and to try to not add to the stress.

In the fall of her Jr year, we looked at a few colleges in a very casual way. We looked at different sizes and types of schools, just so she could get a feel of what environment she might feel most comfortable learning in. We talked about fit, and feeling comfortable, and being among intellectual and social peers, but we also talked about the skill of blooming where one is planted. We held to the concept that there is no “perfect” school, but that in the process of asking who one is and what they are interested in, a nice list of schools could be formed.

She didn’t like the PSAT test although she scored pretty highly (commended scholar), and took a practice ACT through her high school in January last year because comments I read here led me to believe she would find that format more comfortable than the SAT. That format did feel much better; she got a good score on the practice, and a very good score when she took the actual test. She did not prep, aside from some at home practice tests the week before the test, but she generally scores highly on standardized tests. I attribute this in large part to the huge amount of reading for pleasure she has always done.

We did our only formal college touring during spring break last year, and she found it to be very helpful. A couple of colleges that looked great to her on paper didn’t feel like a fit in person, and a couple more really rose high on the list after visiting. A lot was to be learned from reading bulletin boards and spending time sitting and observing in student unions and cafeterias. She did end up with a few schools on her list that she was really excited about, but did not get to see, and she would have gone to admitted students days to see them if need be in the spring of this year.

Over the rest of spring and summer she did a little research on the computer and looked at some of the books like the Fiske guide, but mostly just enjoyed her summer, and her friends. She continued to work part time in an ice cream parlor, which she likes for the paycheck, the sense of responsibility and independence, and the people she has met while working there She also spent several weeks doing summer volunteer work with young children which she has done throughout high school and really loves.

A parent told me early on that it was a very long process, and that there was no earthly reason to make it even longer, and we took that to heart. Her excellent college counselor suggested that the rising seniors not even begin their essays until August at the earliest, because they grow and change so much even over that summer. My D did fill out some of the common app right before school started, but wrote no essays. In fact, she still was adding and subtracting a few schools from her list in mid October, as she learned more and investigated further. She started essays and supplements in September, and worked on them steadily. A lot of times she just worked for 20 minutes here and there, which took off the pressure. It was much more effective for her mentally to say that she was going to work for 20 minutes than she “had to write an entire great essay today”. She had a goal of being done with everything by Thanksgiving, since we were traveling over winter break, and she did not want to be doing apps on the road. She chose to apply to one school ED and one EA, but she had to finish all of her apps, because there was a very short turn around between finding out in December if she got into either of those schools, and us leaving town. She did not quite finish by Thanksgiving, but had applied to 5 schools (the ones with either no fee or who had waived fees), and was ready to hit send on the others when she found out her ED results.

Replies to: Another admissions story (very long post)

  • NorthernMom61NorthernMom61 Registered User Posts: 3,992 Senior Member
    Congratulations to your daughter.
  • onthewestfenceonthewestfence Registered User Posts: 147 Junior Member
    edited January 2018
    @Jensmom27 Great story and path. Will send PM.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 31,209 Senior Member
    Lovely. Thank you for sharing.
    I wish more kids and parents could see this.
    Best to her and your family.
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 36,153 Senior Member
    Great story. :) You should stick around and post advice to students and parents coming up in future years!
  • doschicosdoschicos Registered User Posts: 19,516 Senior Member
    Congrats to your daughter and you and your husband as well. She sounds like very thoughtful and balanced and it appears you have guided her through the process well. Thanks for sharing!
  • Jensmom27Jensmom27 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
    I should have put "from a parent's perspective" in the title, but it appears it's too late to edit at this point :)
  • threeofakindthreeofakind Registered User Posts: 21 Junior Member
    Congratulations to your daughter! As a parent i really enjoyed reading and learning from your experience, thank you for post.
  • Jensmom27Jensmom27 Registered User Posts: 26 Junior Member
    I wrote this post a bit over 8 months ago, but it already seems so long ago! I just want to say again how glad I am for the information I received from this site. My D is a few weeks into her freshman year, and it's going really well so far. So much good info was found here - from packing lists and freshman year checklists, to handling the many emotions. I even found great dorm drop off tips that we employed.

    I was able to handle the one tearful phone call I got where she said she wanted to come home with a grain of salt, because I had read here that type of call is common in the first weeks, and that many times, the kid just needs a safe place to vent since the transition to college is huge. Fortunately, it seems to have been a brief downturn (she was really sick with a cold at the time), and by the next day, she was back to being really happy to be there.

    I continue to lurk here and occasionally post, since there is such great advice for parents with students enrolled in college as well as those still in the search and/or apply mode. Best wishes to those now immersed in college applications!
  • Dancingmom518Dancingmom518 Registered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    My daughter is a new junior so we are about to be neck deep in the admissions process. Your post was very grounding and encouraging. Thank you for telling your story.
  • gate84gate84 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Love that you daughter was, and still is, true to herself.
  • Ready5etGoReady5etGo Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    @Jensmom27 Thank you for sharing her journey, as well as yours.

    Our D22 is currently a high school freshman and is similar to your daughter -- taking challenging courses but not the most challenging path... A's and A minuses... most likely no leadership positions, no awards, and no AP tests... has an extra curricular that she has pursued for years now at a deep level... self taught in musical instruments purely for the love of playing music... AND sleep, health and balance are our top priority.

    She made a wise choice when she selected her high school, and even though I have no idea what will happen in the next few years, your post is like a time machine that allows me to see and learn from the future, and know that everything will be ok.
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