Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Easing into the New Year with Updates

I have been missing in the action of the holidays. But time is getting short -- no more breaks of this kind. We've got a teen entering the second half of her sophomore year. Time's a wasting.

Here's a look at what has been happening on the admissions front during the past few weeks.

A kertuffle over the Common Application. Apparently for a decade or so it has taken years off teens' and parents' lives because its 150 word limit on essays somehow manages to cut off words from applicants' checked and re-checked word counts. The Common App actually uses a space rather than a word limit. Woe to the applicant with too many "M"s or "W"s in the essay. The problem is called truncation, has been around for years, but this admissions season frustration spilled over.

And just when we thought we were beginning to understand the personal essay and what it should say, the video essay is on the upswing.

And thanks to brother-in-law George Wolfe for alerting me to this NPR piece on the stresses of high school and how even if parents, educators and teens agree that the process is too anxiety-ridden, no one wants to pull the plug on AP classes. That might put students at a disadvantage in the applicant pool.

There's no question that the college waters are roiling, but not around our daughter -- not at this minute, anyway. People are asking me what schools interest our daughter; I don't think she has any specific thoughts right now. Some campuses appeal to her, she listens to what friends are saying about their early choices, but she isn't driving herself crazy with it. Yet. Her time will come. But first there are mid-terms.

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