I was recently listening to two of my girlfriends who each have older children chat about the college admissions pressure that their kids were going through. I heard the expected comments around grades and test scores and extra curriculars, but then I heard some things that shocked me - including that the discussion around college started after eighth grade.
I want to be clear here: I don't believe I ever spoke with my guidance counselor in high school about college stuff, and now eighth graders are expected to start meeting with counselors to put them on a college track earlier in life.
I listened as my friends described the pressure, the roller coaster of emotions for their children and themselves and it was all summed up with this one sentence: None of it is fair.
That is very, very true. As this long-form article about what colleges are saying that they want from an applicant (at the moment) there is no one-and-done formula to figure out or fix the admissions process. And from what my friends are saying, college is now becoming a years-long research project before your child ever gets into high school.
I look at my son now with his wide variety of interests and can't picture asking him to make a major decision about his life at such an early age. Will this process get better before my son has to go through it? I don't know...but like all parents, I know I will be there for him when he needs me.
What help did you give your teen going through the college admissions process? Tell me in the comments.