Thank you to Mary Dell Harrington of Grown and Flown for including our advice in her excellent post today, When Joining a Sorority is Part of the College Decision. Harrington looks at where to begin and important factors -- like time and money -- to consider, interviews National Panhellenic Conference Chair Jean Mrasek, provides some great research resources and takes us inside her own sisterhood experience. Whether or not you want to follow in Elle Woods' footsteps, it's a great read that will give you some great info about evaluating the social aspect of college campuses.
Grown and Flown
Mary Dell Harrington, co-founder of one of the blogs we love -- Grown and Flown -- looks back on her experiences guiding three teenagers through the college admission process in her most recent post, The Good, The Bad and the OMG of College Admissions. From road trips and the random nature of college admission to the revelations that occur as we accompany our children on this journey, Mary Dell's look back from the finish line has something for everyone -- great advice for those starting out and the comfort of the 20/20 hindsight of a fellow traveler on the cusp of the next great adventure with her child.
As parents, we know that sometimes the best advice can come from fellow parents who have successfully navigated some developmental step or landmark -- or land mine -- in their children's lives. Here are two of the savviest moms we know -- Lisa Endlich Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington of the excellent blog Grown and Flown -- on next steps for parents of seniors.
This is a moment to rejoice. Your child was accepted to college and all of your effort and his have resulted in this success. There may be some small disappointments, there may euphoria and there may be some big decisions ahead, but this is one of life’s big moments and it should be noted and celebrated. Let your nearly grown child know just how proud you are and acknowledge how much of his effort it took to get to this moment.
Once your family has taken a time to savor this special moment, there are a few more practical matters that need your
Book the revisits.
Your child may be making a very real decision between two or more schools they have not seen in a year, or more. See if the school has official revisit days when pre-frosh return for an organized program. If such a program exists, make certain to book a place in the program and hotel reservations if needed. If there is not official program, make plans for your teen to take another
College Admission went to a book party last night thrown by Grown and Flown's Lisa Endlich Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington in honor of Becky Blades, writer, artist and author of Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give You if She Thought You Were Listening. Blades penned 269 pieces of advice for her two daughters, Taylor Kay and Tess -- primarily as a way of working through her separation anxiety as the eldest headed off to college. (Excellent idea, by the way.)
Her words of wisdom range from the practical: "Cooked food lasts 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. That's all. After that, you will have to throw it out. Your Mother will not be doing this anymore."
To the felicitous: "Own a tutu and a boa. Because you just never know."
And the things you cannot say too many times: "Don't text while you're driving."
On to the horrifying but you have to say it: "Keep your knees together when you're sitting on stage."
Mary Dell Harrington of Grown and Flown joins us today to talk about the ups and downs students -- and parents -- weather as the wait for regular decisions winds down. It's always nice to have a fellow traveler with whom to share the experience. Read on for a friend's perspective...
Thick or Thin Envelope?
Welcome to the end of the waiting period, the last few weeks of March where kids who applied to colleges via regular decision still remain in the dark about whether they will receive the “thick or thin envelopes.” Our youngest child is one of those seniors and she (and I) know that the April 1 notification date is no longer some distant date in the future. It is practically now.
I have been down this road before with our son and his friends when they graduated from high school five years ago. I work as a PTA volunteer in the snack bar where we sell bagels, Snapples, and a host of comfort foods to hungry kids. From mid-December on, seniors accepted via early decision bounced up to the counter wearing new logo sweatshirts and broad smiles, expressing relief that it was all over. They could now finally begin to imagine themselves the following fall in Syracuse or Nashville or wherever. No more wondering, no more work to do.
Lists are objects of affection here at College Admission. There's nothing like a checklist to help students and families break down the big challenge of college applications into its manageable parts. According to author Maria Konnikova writing in the New Yorker, "…lists tap into our preferred way of receiving and organizing information at a subconscious level; from an information-processing standpoint, they often hit our attentional sweet spot."
So we were so happy to see this list of sixteen pieces of excellent advice from Mary Dell Harrington of Grown and Flown -- College Admissions: Don’t Go It Alone-- which hits the sweet spot of parenting through the college application process.
Lisa Endlich Heffernan of the excellent blog Grown and Flown has some great advice for students -- and parents -- about best behavior and student etiquette so the college application process carries you where you want to go.
The college process is a long campaign -- it can be exhausting, distracting and anxiety-producing. So good manners should have a place of prominence. But it is all too easy for an overwrought, otherwise distracted teen to forget what they have been taught. As a parent I was often distracted by the details of the process, too, and failed in my job of reminding my sons to mind their manners along the way. So here are a few reminders, I wish I had had.
1. Teachers need to be asked for recommendations the old fashioned way. Writing recommendations is a time consuming process and yet a good recommendation is key to a good application. If possible, students need to ask their teachers/counselors/coaches for recommendations in person, showing that they are willing to make the effort and that their gratitude is genuine. Email is okay for a follow up thank you and to convey more information, but a handwritten note goes a long way.
Manners count! Lisa Heffernan, from favorite blog Grown and Flown, has ten great reminders for why manners matter, especially for millennials. While she doesn't specifically address the etiquette of the college application process, students would do well to mind her advice. Remember to thank the school counselor and teachers who wrote your letters of recommendation. Be on time for appointments with college representatives and admission office interviews. Be courteous and kind to EVERYONE who works in a college admission office. When you receive your decisions, respond to all of the schools on your list to let them know your plans. We could go on, but our favorite takeaway from Heffernan's post should suffice as a "golden rule" during the application process: Manners are something that people will remember about you, even if they don’t remember what they remember. Manners make an impression and while someone may not recall why they thought well of you (or badly, if you have ignored this) it may have been your courtesy. Don’t take a risk, remember what you have been taught. Read the whole post here.
For many parents and students, the most-lucrative path seems obvious: be practical. The public and private sectors are urging kids to abandon the liberal arts, and study fields where the job market is hot right now.
Dr. Peter Cappelli, George W. Taylor Professor of Management and Director of the Center for Human Resources at the Wharton School and Professor of Education, has some very good, "practical" advice for students and their families in a recent Wall Street Journal article -- Why Focusing Too Narrowly in College Could Backfire.
Here's an excerpt:
Schools, in turn, are responding with new, specialized courses that promise to teach skills that students will need on the job. A degree in hospital financing? Casino management? Pharmaceutical marketing?
Little wonder that business majors outnumber liberal-arts majors in the U.S. by two-to-one, and the trend is for even more focused programs targeted to niches in the labor market.
We're delighted to welcome Mary Dell Harrington to the blog today! Mary Dell cofounded the wonderful blog, Grown and Flown, with Lisa Endlich Heffernan, which covers all things kids aged 15 to 25. (And we're so lucky to have both of them as regular guests here!) Today, we get to ride along with Mary Dell and her 17-year-old daughter as they travel through one of the wonderful rites of passage in the college admission journey -- the college visit. We personally found these visits to be peak parenting experiences and it sounds like Mary Dell and her daughter did, as well. You can, too -- especially with her excellent advice.
Our youngest child will soon finalize her college list and begin the process of uploading her heart and soul into the Common Application. By winter break, she will be liberated from thinking about SATs and self-reflective essays, never to dwell on them again! The only part of the college hunt that I hope she might recall, perhaps even fondly, are the college trips we took together. It is the singular aspect of the process that parents truly share with their child and the only one with the potential to both inform and entertain.
Based on my experience with our daughter and her older brother, here are ways we tried to make looking at colleges more like mini-vacations and less like drudgery:
1. Act like tourists