Thursday, April 29, 2010

Are Some Parents Just Nuts When It Comes to College Stuff?

When Mom's College Cram Course began, I mentioned the blog to two friends I respect. Their responses were similar. They asked what the big deal was: you choose, you apply, you get in or you don't. Roughly a generation older than I, they both recall a straightforward process. I suspect they think I am wasting my time or have become a little obsessive.

Maybe they are right. Certainly getting in to college is more complex -- SAT, SAT 2, AP, enough activities/the right activities, enriching summers (educationally or entreprenurially), difficult discussions about money -- and that's for openers. But maybe it's parents who have aided and abetted this transformation, which has grown even more intense over the past decade or so.

Look at this piece about educated professional moms who have gone on teenager leave. They felt they needed to be on the ground, organizing and coaching and pushing full time. Is this what it takes -- or is it infantilizing the soon-to-be-adult? In writing this blog, am I taking a modified approach to the same act?

On the other hand, my teen and I attended a session at the high school last night. Guidance counselors spoke about making the transition to sophomore year. About 15-20 percent of freshmen and their parents attended. The teen and her friends were bored; parents who have already been through the drill may not have found it worthwhile; but I learned a few things. Or perhaps I was just doing homework for the blog.

Maybe I am being too judgmental. Who's to say what is over- or under-involved parenting? In the end, let's hope we simply do what's right.

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