No, no, that was not meant to be salacious in nature. Truly.
Along with making a career change, traveling for the better part of the last six weeks, the mid-point of the semester for both kidlets, our eldest is in the throes of applying for college.
Or rather, she and her fellow class of 2015’s are in the homestretch of testing; here in the U.S. it ranges from the ACT, SAT, Subject specific testing, Early Decision applications, letters of recommendation and for other students like her that are “candidates for admission” to one of the four U.S. Military Academies, a battery of physical fitness exams, applications for congressional sponsorships which each require yet another layer of letters of recommendation. This is in addition to their every day studies and the various graduation requirements depending on the state in which they live in and or even the school district.
Add into the mix the enormous amount of pressure they are under from parents, their own expectations, the “competition” of their peers, some have part-time jobs, or full-time jobs, various home-life situations, sports or clubs or dance or, or , or…and of course, the fact that they are 16, 17 or 18-year old’s with raging hormones.
The work they are doing just to apply to college makes my head spin. And begs the question I’ve found myself asking other parents in similar situations. “I don’t remember it being this hard, do you?” Granted, I applied to college eons ago, and yes, I remember taking the SAT’s, once. Not multiple times or with the benefit of going to an expensive and intensive prep course. For my classmates and I, the majority of us knew we were going to go to college. For the majority of the majority, it was going to be college at one of the various in-state options and for others it was going to be the alma mater of their parents or grandparents and for a select few, it would be a school that was recruiting them for their academic and or athletic prowess. We looked at colleges by browsing the college catalogs in the high school counseling offices. No internet, no college fairs etc. We simply requested the application information via old fashioned snail mail and sent the same applications back the same way.
Maybe it’s a matter of looking back through rose colored glasses but I really don’t remember having to jump through so many loops or being pushed one way or another. Other than “you are going to college, not if”. In talking with several other parents, from a wide spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds, they remember it as I do. Almost a simple, what can you afford and apply there. That’s probably over-simplifying it but you get the gist.
What about you? Do you remember your senior year in high school, especially those educated in the U.S., being so rife with pressure and a double booked schedule just to shore up your resume to apply to college? I guess I just don’t remember it being so hard.