Mary Dell Harrington

When "Going Greek" is Part of Your College Research...

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.

20/20 Hindsight on Parenting through the College Admission Process

 

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. 

 

Be Ready to Listen, Book Parents Weekend and more: Next Steps for Parents

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 

Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone...

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."

Waiting, waiting, waiting...

 

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.

A Fellow Traveler's Advice on Parenting Through the College Admission Process

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.

Making the College Visit a Mini-Vacation and Other Great Advice on this Rite of Passage

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