Thursday, November 6, 2008

Some Guidance

I can’t imagine working in the Guidance Office right now...a bustling hub of activity with high school seniors applying to college. I only have one kid I’m trying to make sure gets into school…I can’t imagine 250.

The Guidance Office does a great job of keeping everything organized and answering questions from students and parents. And they don’t go GUIDANCE on you. (That’s like going POSTAL, but at the Guidance Office.) I could never work there…I would go GUIDANCE at least once a day. The whole college application process is so stressful, that it puts students and parents in a state of panic.

Students are applying to numerous schools because colleges make them feel that if you aren’t the ‘best slice in the loaf of life’…you won’t get in. So students second guess themselves: What if I don’t get in to XYZ College? Gee, I always thought I was a good student. (But you did get that B minus in Spanish class...Remember, you (accidently) said a swear word in Espanol. Who knew?)

So what do you do? You apply to numerous schools….JUST IN CASE! You look for schools you deem as your safety school, your reach school, your reach school that is a safety-reach, your safety school that is a reach-safety……it just keeps going and going.

Before you know it you’ve applied to 15-20 schools, your family is out-of-pocket 1200 dollars, and you still think you aren’t getting in anywhere. (Maybe there’s a good safety school in Idaho…with a safely reachable altitude.)

Then you try to come up with some strategy to the application process. Do I apply Early Decision, Early Action, or Regular Decision? Early Decision is binding, so it hurts…and Early Action is loose…I mean, non-binding so it doesn’t hurt as much. It seems students aren’t going for the Regular anymore…probably because of the name…it’s just so plain. If they called the Regular Action…Prize Action…students would be all over it.

Then there is standardized testing strategy. The SAT or the ACT…which do I take? Which initials look better? Do I send my scores? Or do I hide my scores under my mashed potatoes? Should I take the tests four times or will I look too desperate? Or do I look for a school that is a kinder, gentler school not requiring standardized tests? (Maybe a school in Idaho that doesn’t believe in stamping numbers on students…only their cattle.)

After the Nov. 1st Early Action date passes…there is a lull. A very short lull when the Guidance Office can catch a breath…until kids start to hear from colleges. Then the stress returns. It turns out the college in Idaho that was supposed to be a safety school within a safety-reach, was actually a safety school within a reach-safety…and although the SATs were not required, they required better grades in Spanish….and the application should have gone binding Early Decision instead of loose Early Action.…..Ahhhhhhhhh. What happens now?

Here’s some guidance: Go ahead and call the Guidance Office. Just remember they have 249 other kids to guide through the college application process…so don’t go GUIDANCE on them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You mean my child is supposed to working on college apps?? there was a nov 1st deadline for what??
I'll get back to you on that....