The Age Gaps of College Apps

Everything in my life is pretty archaic at this point.

I had to wait until I answered the phone to find out who it was on the other end.

I mailed actual handwritten letters to my friends in Summer Camp.

I had to walk a half-mile in the pouring rain to find a pay phone to call my parents, when my car broke down in senior year.

I applied to colleges, on paper. Registered, via telephone after hanging up and calling back 100 times listening to this thing called, a busy signal.

Yes, I am a dinosaur at only 39. Ridiculous, I know. But, true.

Well, this past week I felt 110. We helped our son complete his last college application. Online. Over the course of a few weeks he wrote many, many essays and entered a ton of information into the Common Application. This process is supposed to streamline everything having only one central location to input all of this information. Only, my son’s school stressed us first time parents out so much that we have been prepping and compiling and tutoring our son for this moment for over a year. Some parents prep over all four years of high school. The streamlined process was so complicated, intricate and collectively stressful I don’t know who sighed a bigger sigh of relief – my son or me.

The insanity that accompanies this college process is horrifying. I have heard that getting into college is more difficult than getting the Obamacare website working (badum-chink), since my son was around 10 years old. So, I determined to ignore this radical behavior of pre-stressing and just RELAX. I knew my children are bright, capable and wonderful and any college would be lucky to have them. Then, reality sank in.

Sitting across from the guidance counselor at my son’s school he became Donald Downer.  “Yes, your son is bright. Yes, he has good grades and high test scores. But, so do many others. Don’t even bother applying to X. He’s not a standout.” Um, WHAT? What did he just say? On no he didn’t. (yes, I did almost stand up and Z-Snap in front of him.)

I blew a gasket. My son is most definitely a stand out and I was determined to prove it to him and every college out there. No, he didn’t adopt a war-torn baby or save a small dying country from hunger. But, he’s done zillions of age-appropriate amazing things and he plays music and writes like nobody’s business. I became a Mom on a Mission.

We hired a writing coach. A Northwestern graduate school tutor familiar with what colleges are looking for, who bumped up my son’s essays  from Really Amazing to Now, With Extra Wow Factor. We gathered, garnered and g-polished his activities resume. We spit shined his applications so stellar and representative of him that any college would beg to have him on their roster. And, then we pressed send.

So, now we wait. Wait to see if they’ve got what it takes to see just how Standout my son is. I am sure every other Mom and kids just waits too. Even when things were simpler people just waited. Back when a piece of paper with the right info and a nice smile could get you in just about anywhere you wanted. You signed on that dotted line and waited for a fat envelope, instead of skinny letter.

Whatever happens though, I’ll know that we gave my kid a fair shot. That we didn’t give in to the machine and just give up. That we didn’t accept mediocrity because no child, no one and no way is my kid backing away from an opportunity just because some mean man says so. Let’s hope a fat envelope comes our way soon, from school X just to stick it to em (oh, yeah so my kid could be happy too… )

And now about paying for that education…Check out this awesome video from The Onion…

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