D and friends refuse to discuss colleges. Good or bad?

<p>It's September of senior year, and maybe it's still too early. Maybe the competitiveness will take hold later. But D tells me that at her school, talking about colleges is a no-no. If the kids are sitting around a table eating lunch and someone mentions the topic, groans ensue and everyone throws food at the person who dared to broach the topic.</p>

<p>D goes to a magnet school that's known for having a competitive student body. So maybe it's good that the kids are delaying the hunt as long as possible? Or are they in denial? Has anyone else noticed this?</p>

<p>Are they really delaying the hunt or just agreeing not to talk about it?</p>

<p>If they're delaying the hunt, it's probably not good. But if they are taking care of what they need to do, their decision not to talk about it during their free "de-stressing" time is probably a good one. Throwing food seems like a pretty healthy coping mechanism to me, given the pressure the kids are probably under anyhow. </p>

<p>My D went to a competitive magnet HS too. After never wanting to talk with me about her college choices, applications, deadlines, etc., she now calls me and asks me to email her senior friends links about college selection and admissions. I asked her about this and she told me, "I like the process. I just didn't like going through it myself."</p>

<p>S never discussed college with his friends, or SAT scores, or APs, or anything academic, actually ("We have more interesting things to talk about"). These were high achieving kids: some ended up at Harvard, MIT, Duke, Smith, USC, etc...</p>

<p>Hi Mom-my D is a senior this year also. Judging from your note, your daughter is probably very keenly aware of college application deadlines given she attends a school w/a competitive student body. You sound like a Mom who has a good "working" relationship w/your D. I encourage you to keep the door open for conversation-offer to help with the grunt work-ask her which schools you should be checking out their scholarship offerings-Hang in there!</p>

<p>Friends may not be talking about it for a host of reasons. They may not want to tell their friends where they applying to avoid competition, and shame if they are not admitted. They may not want to face the pressures, feelings of leaving home, and are avoiding the topic for those reasons. My S was very private about the whole process. His closest friends did not know where he applied, and he did not even share where he was admitted until the end of the year!</p>

<p>Lurk - I think it's great if they keep their social fabric insulated from the applications process. Does she talk to you about it all? BTW, love your screen name.</p>

<p>Lurk-ness (good name!):</p>

<p>It's one thing to not be talking about all this with one's friends. It's another to not be looking into it all, maybe making preliminary choices, lining up recs, taking tests, etc.</p>

<p>The same social situation prevailed at S's HS. I figured that everyone was busy behind the scene and too cool to talk about it. To my surprise, one of the brightest kids in his class waited until literally the last minute to send in his apps. He was actually turned down by what I think we on this forum call "the flagship state university" , which is competitive, sure, but with its modified, rolling-admissions policy had already accepted students with lower stats and less involvement. He was not alone. My son, who applied early, not only got in with similar credentials, but rec'd an extremely generous merit award. He ended up going elsewhere (sob), but that's another story! </p>

<p>There's a moral here, I think.</p>

<p>Now, had we waited until S picked up on the notion of getting his apps in order from the ambient culture at school, he may have been in the same boat as the student discussed above. This is where parental (my) nudging, discussions, research, suggestions came in. He still kept much of the information to himself, for the reasons outlined above in post #5, and so he wouldn't "look stuck up."</p>

<p>It's a fine line we need to walk regarding parental involvement in the college search and application process, but I do believe that our kids, as confident and capable as they are, just don't know what they don't know! And sometimes someone with a broader perspective can help by getting the ball rolling.....and monitoring deadlines!</p>

<p>My son and his friends clearly talk about colleges, but in the last week or so I have noticed a definite change: Some of them have figured out that it may be a zero-sum game among them, that [Harvard, Yale, Whatever] is unlikely to accept five kids from their class early action (and, objectively, they are right). This is tough to deal with, and there's often lots of emotion layered on top of it. For example, my S has learned that two of his closest friends plan to apply early to the same school he would like to apply to. One is a URM with a lot of very special talent, but who has never played in the same leagues academically with S. They have no experience feeling competitive with each other. The other is a girl who is, in all the big ways (GPA, rank, SATs, family background, ethnicity, BMOC-hood), indistinguishable from him. The two of them have a history of romantic attraction and bad timing, but they have remained friendly throughout. One night last week, S started to sob: "I don't know why ANYONE would take me over [Girl]!" (Then he called her, and she was nice enough to say the same thing about him.) Anyway, the point is that, for a while, I expect them to be talking a little less about colleges. It is tough and stressful.</p>

<p>Not talking about colleges to one's friends sounds like a good way of reducing stress and preserving friendships during a very challenging time.</p>


<p>My son is a junior at a magnet and he doesn't talk to friends (with one or two exceptions, and always in private) about where he's looking. The competition is intense and many kids go to the top schools (literally a couple <em>dozen</em> apply to MIT...). Just today he found out someone was participating in a competition he's working on -- he had no idea she was doing it, and she had no idea he was. Oops!</p>

<p>I know kids who are applying to schools where they know people and don't even want to talk to them about life there -- that one I find harder to understand.</p>

<p>One of his best friends is a senior and he doesn't discuss colleges with his pals at all. They seem to be actively trying to preserve friendships. As long as they are working on applications and getting the process moving along, I understand their reasons completely.</p>

<p>Perhaps I'm reading the original post incorrectly.</p>

<p>Lurkness wrote, "So maybe it's good that the kids are delaying the hunt as long as possible? Or are they in denial?" From which I infer that the OP suspects that not much is happening w/regard to college applications, and that that suspicion is one of her concerns.</p>

<p>And, I agree wholeheartedly that keeping the application business separate from casual friendships is a good thing---for all the reasons cited by the posters above.</p>

<p>The closest my daughter came to discussing colleges with her friends was wearing t-shirts for the colleges to which she was applying. </p>

<p>I'm not sure why, but it just wasn't discussed. Maybe because they were too busy with other things. Maybe because 95% of the students had never heard of the colleges D was applying to. Maybe because it is just too "heavy" a topic for casual conversation and can evolve into possible bragging (scores, rank, etc).</p>

<p>I agree with marite. I don't know if it's just boys or what, but neither one of my sons seem to discuss this at all with their friends. (They know nothing!!!) And this is also at a high-performing HS.</p>

<p>My D is a junior at a magnet school and is very tight lipped about this whole thing. In fact, I was asked not to divulge anything regarding colleges or her academics to any child or parent at back to school night or anytime in the future till the entire process is over.</p>

<p>Another mom of sons whose S did not discuss colleges with friends, at a school where his cohort goes to highly selective schools. I thought it odd that he didn't have tabs on where they were all applying, etc. Now I think it's healthy. </p>

<p>They did discuss SAT scores on the day the results came out, with the resultant disappointment for those who didn't do as well as others, but that is life. After one day, comparisons were over. They tended to know less than us parents who did and didn't get into their ED/SCEA choices(shows you whose priorities were on straighter).</p>

<p>Talking among themselves about the college search and selection process would probably not have been helpful (and maybe not healthy) either. Too much opportunity for surface comparison, sound-bite commentary, etc. I think it's a topic best kept to GC-student and family-student discussions, where each family can focus on the criteria driving the process for their particular student, which can include private financial matters, "fit" issues such as whether the kid wants to be in a challenging or relaxed academic atmosphere, how close or far from home student wants to be, etc.</p>

<p>If your kid isn't discussing college search and selection with you, well that's another matter. I can see why you might think she should step up the pace, but if you browse older threads, you will see that many of us have Been There Done That. My S, for one, didn't seem to be focused on it or interested in discussing it, even tho DH and I were deep into the subject. Nevertheless, as I wrote here on cc lo these many moons ago, he emerged from his lair, part way through October, with no prompting from us, to announce his top choice and his other possibles. It was all noodling around in his head, and he was working it out in his own way.</p>

<p>okay, I am a senior at a magnet school...
I havent read the rest of this post but I will explain:</p>

<p>you don't talk about schools for 2 reasons: it is Very bad form to be competative with friends. You can talk about schools with acquaintances but it is Really rude to talk with your friends about 1) leaving forever and 2) being smarter than they are or better at something or something.<br>
Also because it is a lot of work and if you talk about it everyone else starts to feel behind about school (you are allowed to complain that you literally haven't done anything at all)</p>

<p>...this is also because at a competative school like this everyone it applying to the same caliber of schools so you are confronted with being in direct competition with friends</p>

<p>Thank you, idamayer. I found your post very insightful. I especially liked learning about this aspect
You can talk about schools with acquaintances but it is Really rude to talk with your friends about 1) leaving forever

, which I hadn't thought of but which struck an immediate chord. I'm sure that applied to my S and his friends as well.</p>

<p>My older daughter went to a prep school where everyone continues on to a "name" four year college or university. At the beginning of the senior year all ,and I do mean all, of the girls suddenly became uninterested in college. I think it is because girls are more forward looking and see leaving for college as the beginning of leaving home forever. I think the school was onto this from previous experience because I saw what they did with the senior girls beginning-of-the-year retreat. At the start of each year each of the classes goes camping to a different location, and the girls go to a different place than the boys. So while all of the other students were in remote locations learning about leadership and whatnot, the senior girls were back at school listening to alumnae tell about the colleges they had attended and listening to the GC.</p>

<p>I think they're avoiding letting the competitive aspects affect their friendship, and that's good.</p>

<p>As long as your child is keeping up with the applications process, that's all that matters.</p>

<p>I have noticed that my daughter, a senior in a magnet program, discusses colleges mainly with friends who are not her direct competition because their interests, and therefore their college choices, differ from hers. </p>

<p>Not talking about colleges can come up among parents, too. I'm finding that I prefer to avoid discussing colleges with other parents because it creates awkward situations. As it happens, our family's financial situation is such that my daughter can apply Early Decision (because she won't get any need-based aid regardless of how she applies). Some other parents are having to refuse their children's requests to apply ED because of the need to compare financial aid packages. Talking with them about our respective kids' college plans is embarrassing.</p>

<p>I'm worried about a friend whose S is looking at only Reach schools (Yale, Swarthmore, Williams, Amherst) and State U where he'd have full-ride but he doesn't want to go there. My friend thinks that because the highly selective schools say they'll meet demonstrated need, that means they'll give good financial aid to her son. I think this two-income family might not get much, if any, need-based aid and she may not realize that. She also seems to think that a NMS finalist status, good test scores and 4.0 GPA will lead to acceptances and merit aid everywhere. I know for a fact (at least I think I do) that these incredibly selective schools give little or no merit aid.</p>

<p>My H says I should mind my own business, but this kid has been my son's best friend since they were two years old. Should I say something?? And, if so, how?</p>