From Stef’s Desk: Confidentially Speaking…

Can you keep a secret?  Well, most people can’t.  Even if they promise they will.  Your college target list and application details are your personal information, and I don’t believe they should be shared with your friends or classmates. I discourage my clients from sharing their college application details with anyone beyond their parents, teachers and school counselor. This is all your proprietary information and it most certainly does not need to be shared on social media.

As you have already discovered, college admissions is an extremely competitive business.  Like most circumstances in life, you are much better off keeping your eye on YOUR ball, and don’t fret about who is applying where.  Conversely, others have no business knowing where you are applying.

True story! Last year I had two clients who were buddies (we’ll call them Mark and Will). Mark’s dad went to a highly selective college and really wanted his son to follow suit. So, they planned to attend the college’s homecoming weekend to see how Mark liked it. Against my advice, they invited Mark’s friend, Will, along for the weekend. After enjoying two days of football, parties and great school spirit, both students understandably came back wanting to attend that college more than any other and both decided to apply under the school’s binding early decision application cycle. Weeks later, Will visited another college – on a regular school day – and really fell in love with the students, the academic programs and the culture. He hoped and prayed he would not get accepted to his early decision school. Fast forward a few months, Mark was declined and Will was accepted.Awkward.

Both students are happy at their respective schools. However, Will never would have applied to the college had Mark’s dad not invited him along for homecoming weekend. What’s the lesson here?  When asked “where are you applying?” Be vague. Tell your friends and their parents that you are applying to the typical schools but keep some (and especially your top choice schools) close to your heart.

When college acceptances start to trickle in, not everyone is going to be receiving the news they hope for. I cringe when I hear of parents racing up to school with college-logo balloons and flags to congratulate their son or daughter’s good news.  Stop to think how the students feel who did not gain admission to that school.

Parents, senior year is a joyful time, but it’s also very stressful.  Try to limit your discussions about college applications among your parent group.  I applaud high schools that discourage parental fraternizing on this topic.  There are so many unknowns, and nothing is to be gained by discussing another student’s board scores, GPA, target schools or recommendations. News can quickly turn to gossip, feelings get hurt, and everyone loses.  Remember that your job description is to support and encourage YOUR student. You are their head cheerleader, and they depend on you in this role. Be there for them when they receive disappointing news, and celebrate wildly (but privately) with them when they receive an acceptance.

Additionally, you may want to check out this letter from Huffington Post by Andrea Reiser that I love: http://bit.ly/ED-aLettertoMySon

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