Mentioning Travel on Parents Brag Sheet

<p>Re: travel - we are travel junkies and as such our kids have traveled extensively since they were very young. It has definitely had an impact on them in terms of their perspectives and personal tastes as well as impacting career choices. </p>

<p>Is this something we should mention on the parent's brag sheet or will it be perceived as a negative? Both kids never talk about their travels with friends or at school so it is definitely something the GCs may not be aware of. All opinions welcome!</p>

<p>I think it would be worth mentioning that your kids have a broad perspective, having been exposed to many cultures and people around the world (listing a few illustrative examples), having been travelling every summer since they were six months old. Where would this brag sheet be used? Is it something that the GC could use in crafting your kiddo's recs? Is it public or just for the GC's use?</p>

<p>It is just for the GC's use. My D wants to be an architect so the experiences are relevent. I just don't want it to come off sounding like "rich kid" which is defintiely not the case. We have just made travel a priority at the expense of many other things.</p>

<p>I think anytime that your son or daughter has traveled quite extensively (as it seems like yours have) that there is no reason why they should not put it in their application. Anything that can make you stand out in the eyes of an ADCOM is a positive. Universities want people who have traveled so they can share their experiences with other students. It provides some diversity.</p>

<p>I agree that Us like kids who have seen some of the world, as it does lead to a student body who has more diversity and is better able to work with folks of different cultures and experiences. I would also encourage your kid to mention it in his application and interviews. It seems a natural for architecture, talking about some of the lovely places he's been and how he's inspired to create wonderful places for people to work/live in.</p>

<p>My kids have been travelling regularly since they were six months old and know that they've seen more of the world than many. They feel very fortunate and believe it has enhanced their life and made them more adventurous and self-reliant.</p>

Is this something we should mention on the parent's brag sheet or will it be perceived as a negative?


<p>Sure, go ahead and mention it. There is no reason not to.</p>

Both kids never talk about their travels with friends or at school so it is definitely something the GCs may not be aware of.


<p>Since the kids don't 'talk' about it, it likely has little to do with their passion; so yes, it comes across as 'rich enough to travel'. Thus, it won't matter for need-blind, highly selective schools where travel essays tend to be ho-hum. ('I rode the elevator to the top of the Eiffel Tower and knew then I wanted to be an architect'.....snooze.)</p>

<p>Totally disagree bluebayou. My kids love traveling and it has helped them in so many ways but they don't talk about it as they feel it comes off as bragging which is looked down upon in their circle of friends. </p>

<p>My younger daughter has learning issues and is best when she learns experientially which is why we try to plan summer vacations around what she will be learning that September. It's also why we're looking at colleges that are more inclined to include experiential learning in their curriculum.</p>

<p>My older daughter has a sophistication about her that has a lot to do with her travels - she's traveled on her own as well as with the family. She has a great interest in history and travels with that angle in mind.</p>

<p>Travel essays are only ho-hum if the person writing them thinks of travel as ho-hum. For both my kids they find it life changing even if they don't talk about it. I guess you could say that all this travel has also made them sensitive to those who have less and can't afford to travel like they have.</p>

<p>Travel doesn't even have to be "elitist." Folks travel for different reasons & with different budgets--camping and visits to distant friends & family is still travel & gives folks a larger perspective on life and other people.</p>

I see the essay forming, a perspective on architectures of places visited in travels. Or the architectural identifier of those locations, eg. Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, St. Marks, St. Louis Arch ......
So yes, mention the travel, if the GC uses it, it could tie up the whole package!</p>

For both my kids they find it life changing...


<p>But that IS the point, amtc. 'I traveled, my life changed'...... Check out the book on Admission Essays by Henry Bauld, or Michelle Hernandez. I'm not suggesting that the change is not real, just that it is commonplace. At highly selective colleges, 50-60% of students are full pay -- they all have the means to travel, and most of them have, frequently.</p>

I guess you could say that all this travel has also made them sensitive to those who have less and can't afford to travel like they have.


<p>I believe Bauld addresses this one directly. I believe he says to "avoid them at all costs."</p>

<p>What WOULD make a good story is that 'I traveled, learned/found something,& came back and did something about it, such as adopted an orphanage and raised funds for it.'</p>

<p>edit: just googling the topic brought me back to cc, and our own Sally:</p>

Question: I’m taking a trip to Europe this summer through one of my teachers with other classmates. Can this exposure help in any way with admissions? Or is there anything I can do to make it matter?</p>

<p>College officials are quite accustomed to seeing all sorts of overseas travel on application forms, so you probably won’t get any admissions boost from simply taking this summer trip. Moreover, the “Experiencing a New Culture Changed My Life” college essay (or some variation thereof) is common enough to make most admission officials start to snore (or at least roll their eyes).</p>

<p>But, of course, your pending trip may indeed change your life. It’s certainly possible that your journey will spark a new passion (Impressionist art? medieval architecture? World War II history?) If, once you return, you parlay the experiences you have or the interests you ignite during your travels into additional activities (or a long-term academic or career goal) then this may be information you’ll want to include in your applications, and it could make you a more attractive candidate at decision time.


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<p>The key to the essay is not to be formulaic; talk about architecture and weave the locations into it; then do not mention how the travel influenced you, it is obvious because you are telling this story of your passion.</p>

<p>If you only write about travel as an activity or as a name-dropper, (as in "most summers we travel. We've been on a safari, saw the brazilian rainforest, took a boat up the Nile....") then yeah, it'll come off as "I'm a rich kid". So don't go there. Write about what happened as a result of your travels. Much more meaningful.</p>

<p>This topic is tricky. In general, highly selective colleges seem to reward applicants who present experiences that show they are self-directed, independent, hard-working, and found a way to make a difference. Exotic family travel can appear, in this context, as a wonderful luxury, a bit passive (who selected to destination, made all the plans, paid for it?) and sends potentially unhelpful signals to adcoms:</p>

<p>1) student is from highly privileged background, so chalk these cool experiences up to family wealth
2) students who have been on safari or hiked the Australian outback, or had any other cool and mind-expanding travel adventure do not display leadership, initiative, passion to help, or drive. While we may applaud our student waking up to their place in this world, college adcoms are often looking for those other active qualities.<br>
3) The most selective colleges get many applicants who have vast and exotic travel experiences, so it is not unique among this cohort. Like kids who do summer college programs--it often says more about supportive educated families with the means and/or priority to give their kids advantages. Adcom, trying to find the authentic applicant, may be a little turned off to all that. We're told that many college essays relate how travel "opened my eyes" type epiphanies, so at this point it will take a real twist to make a travel background stand out in a good way. </p>

<p>Personally, I think giving our kids these travel experiences can ignite their interests and open their minds to a whole big world--but from what we've seen on CC and in talks by adcoms, it seems any mention of privileged activities by GCs or on the application needs to find some other essential aspect to the trips to focus on how the student took their "awakening" and made a contribution.</p>

<p>It's a shame. So many adcoms will warn against essays where the student either: played the final game with an injury--went on to perform the final solo without her own bow--opened his eyes to how South American farmers must endure hardship (sports-performance-travel) which come at the admissions office in unending supplies. The shame is that these are often very real and moving experiences to the kiddo involved. How many life-altering moments do our 17-year-olds get to experience, anyway?? But just a few words of caution to help you avoid bugging (rather than attracting) the adcoms.</p>

<p>parents have a brag sheet?</p>

<p>I believe the OP wants to mention travel on the brag sheet that parents provide to GCs so that the GCs can have a sense of the student. The information, if used, will be included in the GCs letter of recommendation, not the student's essay.</p>

<p>It never hurts to give the GC info, that s/he can decide how to best use to the student's advantage. We wrote to the GC about things our kids would never tell them but it was who our kids are to US and what makes them unique. Not sure how the GC used the info but they do have discretion about how it will be used and have good relationships with the schools, so they know what helps/hurts kids.</p>

<p>^^ Yes, perhaps I should have completed my post to add-- if it may require finesse to portray the deeper value of foreign travel on a particular student to adcoms (whether in essays, in-person interviews), it is hard to imagine how a GC could drop that info into a LOR (especially for a student who has never even mentioned it to the GC before) without it unintentionally sounding like bragging.</p>

<p>Of course, some GCs are very saavy and in that case, they would know exactly the right tone to take.</p>

<p>We let our D2 go on a People to People trip the summer after her freshman year. At the time, we sent her for a lot of reasons. They of course said it was great for college apps, which I doubted - for many of the reasons stated above. In fact, we'd already done college visits for D1 and heard the very helpful talk from adcoms about how boring the "I built a school in Costa Rica" essays are, when it's just about being exotic and privileged and not about being meaningful. </p>

<p>We sent D2 on that trip because she'd wanted to do it for 3 years running, and it was a very good thing for her for a lot of reasons. But I'd be surprised if she even mentions it in her college apps; it'll be buried in the list of thing she's done, but it won't be any kind of magic key. It was a turning point of sorts, but more like a starting point - she's had more and more important moments since then (which cost way less money!). </p>

<p>Same thing with her summers of marching band - both Ds did that, and D1 very deliberately didn't write about it, even though it seems like the perfect "what I learned about life" experience. She knew she couldn't make it sound unique, and she didn't want it to be her leading characteristic. </p>

<p>I'm sure the OP's kids can show that the meaning is more important than the privilege. But I understand perhaps wanting to downplay the travel because it so often looks just like padding, or rich-kid stuff. It's hard to pull off right.</p>

<p>My son mentioned a travel experience in his essay. The essay was really about what I learned from origami, but he started off by describing an experience he'd had in Japan. He didn't make a big deal of it. He was applying to international relations programs or at least as a prospective IR major, so it made sense for him.</p>

<p>This is such an interesting thread. I'm not sure if I can add anything useful but I wanted to give a different perspective. I don't mean this to sound judgmental and I hope I can write it so as not to be (as I hope I'm helpful a bit. </p>

<p>In our neck of the woods- a combination of the general region and also SES group, everybody travels a lot. And in our world- personal lives but also our students that we teach (we are professors)- it would be uncommon to meet a student without a passport or who didn't have international travel experience. From this perspective, if someone were to convey that world travel is special, distinctive or noteworthy, I think it would convey provinciality. Hence, the writer and/or region from where the student hails would be seen as quite provincial.</p>

<p>My concern would be that for possibly some schools and regions, world travel would not be interesting, would not set a student applicant apart, and might convey the opposite effect one is trying to get across. As such, it would very much depend upon how it was presented.</p>