The Sophomore Search for College [or… hiding from the emails]

January 2012. Calendar by Mod Squad Julie.

Mark the day:  on January 18th the first college emails arrived to invite Mod Squad Julie to join their class of 2020.

No, you know what I mean:  to invite M.S. Julie to spend $50 to $100 and jump through a long series of hoops to apply to join their class of 2020.

By the end of the day she had received eleven emails.

Two years ago, when Mod Squad Pete received his first emails, he was excited and intrigued. And, probably, so were his parents (although I also remember a certain amount of trepidation on my part).

Having seen the glut of emails he received and the stacks and stacks of promotional print materials that stuffed our mailbox (most of them strikingly similar to each other), Julie’s response was one of dread.

Granted, she has also seen the entire experience at close hand:

  • she visited a number of colleges with Pete;
  • last spring she attended a “Pathways to College” event at the University of Virginia with panels on essays, current student experiences, etc.;
  • she has seen the endless lists of tasks related to essays, recommendations, tracking extra-curriculars, and completing applications;
  • she has heard countless parent-student conferences (I’d call them chats, but some of these involved markers and easel paper) about plans, questions, goals, and more;
  • and, truth be told, she had a front row seat for the emotional roller-coaster the multiple deadlines brought on.

As any parent or teacher knows, every student, every child is different. The path Julie chooses for her college search will be different from Pete’s for a couple of very big reasons:  1) She has been an up-close observer of his search, and 2) she is a different student / teen with different interests, goals, and strengths.

Last night, I had a similar attitude to Julie’s:  Oh, no, not that already. In the clear light of the morning, however, I’m ready to buy my ticket and get back on the roller-coaster. I can’t wait to see where her search takes us.

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