Senior to parents: Let kids pick their own college
My guest is Adam Turay, a senior at South County Secondary School in Fairfax County. He is editor-in-chief of his school paper, The Courier, a member of his school’s "It’s Academic" team and plays guitar and keyboards in a rock band.
By Adam Turay
Over the summer and at the start of this school year, I was one of many college-obsessed young students. I checked out numerous schools and tried to figure out which would be best for me. I looked at class size, best programs of study, and requirements for admission. All in all, I did a pretty good job of deciding where I wanted to apply and what I wanted from each of the schools that I chose.
I thought I had more or less figured things out. Between information sessions at school and all the research I’d done, I felt prepared to begin applying to the colleges I’d chosen. I had taken the classes, sat for the standardized tests and written the essays. Bring on the application process! I was ready to go.
Or so I thought.
In one hour, my parents dismantled many of the decisions I had been working toward over the previous months: My first choice school wasn’t prestigious enough. I didn’t need any safeties. My tentative majors were ridiculous. My essay topics didn’t showcase the “best aspects of my character.”
I fought tooth-and-nail but, of course, had to make some compromises.
I applied to schools that I knew I didn’t want to go to, passed up on some schools that I could see myself at, and came up with new essay topics. All with resentment.
I couldn’t help but feel that, for a process that would virtually decide the next four years of my life, I hadn’t had nearly enough say as I wanted.
Of course I realize that parents are an integral part of the college admissions process. I respect that role, but I also feel parents should offer guidance and suggestions in lieu of making our decisions for us. I personally feel capable of making important decisions carefully. While I want to hear input, I also want my parents to trust me enough to think for myself.
Parents, you can’t make this decision for your children. We’re not even really children anymore.
When acceptance letters start rolling in, take a deep breath, relax and let your children take the helm. Finding the perfect school is vital and most of the time, your children will know which ones are best for them.
Previously, Adam wrote on this blog about kids using Wikipedia, and about whether kids and adults should avoid each other on Facebook, and about how hard it is to write a research paper the old-fashioned way--without using the Internet.
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| February 23, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories: College Admissions | Tags: college admissions
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