College Bound & Gagged: Excerpt 1

During these next few weeks of back-to-school and college-bound chaos, I will be sharing some excerpts from my book College Bound and Gagged: How To Help Your Kid Get Into A Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind.

If you’ve ever been annoyed by parents (yours or someone else’s) read on and see which label fits….

Other Parents

Let’s take a break from complaining about kids and complain about other parents for a while. If you think all parents of seniors hold hands and form support groups, now’s the time for a little reality therapy. Not all parents are bad, but it only takes a few to make you crazy.

The college search does funny things to parents. Personalities become exaggerated and all bets are off. Some share helpful tips and insights. Others become competitive, secretive, and resentful. And fair weather friends become your best friends, but only if you’re an Ivy league alum.

Other parents will help you through this process but it’s hard to predict who they will be until you’re smack in the middle. There are five parent prototypes you’re bound to bump into. Not all are pleasant BUT you can learn from all of them. And don’t panic if you see a little bit of yourself in each one. The college search can do that to the best of us.

1. The Truth Teller

What You Can Learn: Honesty and sharing can make a positive difference.

This tell-it-like-it is parent is honest and supportive. She doesn’t sugarcoat the experience or her kid. She helps you realize that your senior’s attitude isn’t unique. If you’re going through this at the same time, you’ll swap stories and deadlines, voice frustrations, answer questions, and eventually celebrate together. If she’s already been through it, her successes and failures will guide you.

2. The Doomsday Story Teller

What You Can Learn: Don’t believe everything you hear.

Misery loves company but not when it comes to college admission. This story telling parent is quick to share the woes of others especially if they involve perfect standardized test scores, more volunteer work than Mother Teresa and, “can you believe it?” the inability to get into any top colleges. Exaggeration makes for better but inaccurate stories, so don’t panic. There are plenty of great colleges for your child.

3. The Imposter

What You Can Learn: Honesty is the best policy.

The Imposter Parent is a ghost writer and, yes, a liar. She writes essays for her senior and even fills out the application. She’s been known to use her senior’s email to correspond with the admission office. Sometimes she laughs about it and other times she justifies her actions because of that crazy busy senior year. Truth be told, The Imposter has been doing his kid’s homework since middle school. Parents who consider helping their student in this way, should know that ghost writing can lead to college rejections.

Read more about other parents in College Bound and Gagged: How To Help Your Kid Get Into A Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind.

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3 thoughts on “College Bound & Gagged: Excerpt 1”

    1. Yes. I work for one of the graduate schools at a large university. We often get parents of prospective (or even accepted) graduate students calling us with questions that would best be dealt with by the students themselves, often just by checking our website. The parents are usually more confused than the students, and it’s hard sometimes to explain things to them.

      Bear in mind that these students are not nineteen year olds. They have already been through 4 or 5 years of undergraduate school, and many of them have been out working for a few years. Having Mom or Dad call the school is usually not necessary.

  1. And by the time they are ready to apply for graduate school, students should NOT be depending on their parents to deal with the admissions office!

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