At last night's Sophomore Parents' meeting, a counselor asked for a show of hands: how many parents were already anxious about the college process? A number of us raised our hands. Then he asked, how many of our kids were anxious. I didn't see a single hand go up. I suspect we should take some cues from our teens, at least this year.
Meanwhile we received an overview: testing this year (PSAT, done; subject tests, to be considered); a reminder of the parents' role in the college process -- co-pilot, not pilot; acknowledgment that all years are important (not just junior) because all years are reflected in the GPA; and a tip to start looking at the counseling department's newsletter for descriptions of summer enrichment programs, along with scholarship information.
Then, just as a preview experience, I went to another meeting and joined the last part of a talk given by an admissions officer from my alma mater. Even in 15 minutes I learned a lot about the school's approach to admissions.
But the most important thing I heard is something we all must remember. A student controls 75 percent of the admissions process -- which schools to consider, apply to and then which one to select. Of course, that 25 percent left to the colleges themselves is critical. But the breakdown does provide us all with some perspective. Free will is still a major part of the process.