I am a divorced mother of a 16-year-old girl (hereinafter to be referred to as "Dear Daughter" or "DD") who is currently a junior at an elite private school ("Elite Private School" or "School") in Manhattan. With college admissions more competitive than ever before, it is my job to help DD navigate through the process with a minimum of stress and find a college that is right for her.
DD is being educated in an environment, and in an era, of ridiculous frenzy about getting into Harvard-Yale-Princeton, with parents pulling strings and even resorting to bribery to get their toddlers into the "right" pre-school or kindergarten, and spending fortunes on private college admissions counselors. In fact, it wasn't long ago that the news media chronicled the sad story of a Harvard undergraduate whose entire young life was specifically packaged to vault her into the Ivy League ... and who then experienced a very public meltdown when her much-publicized roman à clef was exposed as riddled with plagiarism. I do not believe that any of this -- the "name" schools, the packaging, the U.S. News & World Report rankings -- has anything to do with getting one's child a good education. But how can I shield DD from the madness, while at the same time forbearing from being a "helicopter parent" and allowing her the space and autonomy to make her own decisions?
While I will change certain details to protect DD's privacy, the substance of this blog will be altogether too true. I assume our experiences will resonate with other families whose children are in the process of applying to college -- not only those in private schools in Manhattan, but students in competitive public and private high schools nationwide. I will also provide links to articles, books, college guides and useful websites so that this can be a resource for other parents of college-bound high school students.
Let the journey begin!