EARLY COLLEGE: A PARODY

Even though the SAT or ACT is preferred in dif...

Image via Wikipedia

Dear College Board,

We are parents of a Junior and a Senior in High School. We know all about ” early decision” where students can find out their application status earlier than other students. We also know it is a binding contract and should be taken very seriously. There is also “early action” which is non-binding but still affords the potential student with information about their status from certain colleges with a rolling admissions process. We know it can be a very stressful and tense time waiting for the dreaded AND most eagerly anticipated, April 1st 2011 deadline.  Herewith, I am planning a proposal for yet another placement strategy that is called ” Early College.”

“Early College” are for those seniors in High School that are READY to be in college even though it is still the first quarter of their senior year. “Early College” is meant to help parents deal with their children’s “senioritis”: obnoxious behavior, arguments and their child’s apparent “superior- knowledge -in -everything.” Since these children seem to be SO advanced,  with their astounding wisdom and arrogance it seems fitting that they should have a temporary place to live at a college, any college, before they get officially accepted. Students  would be required to take the following courses: No Beer 101, No Weed, 101, No Lying 101 thru 501 (advanced placement offered after a failed a polygraph test), I Like My Friends Better 101, 301, and 501 and Trying The Patience Of Parents (can be repeated if necessary.)

Parents of the world have been suffering through this transitory stage since the inception of college as we know it today.  It is generally a process that starts in the Junior year of High School which includes, but is not limited to, the following:  1) driving permit, 2) PSAT, 3) tutoring for the SAT, 4) paying for the PSAT and SAT ) 5) paying for driver’s education course 6) paying for additional drivers on our insurance etc. We listen with an open heart to gripes about the PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT 2’s, and those teachers that “hate” our children. We pay for additional tutoring with a smile and a hefty check and we shuttle those with a learner’s permit to and from: malls, movies, friend’s houses, malls, and malls. I am proposing a Junior program as well for those Juniors in HS that are not quite ready to take the big step away from home. It’s called the “Parent Appreciation Program & Smiling” program or PAPS as we call it. This program is for an entire week where students will have to sit through (or be sat on) courses such as the following: Eye Rolling, Superior Attitude, Cursing, and Selfish Behavior.  In these classes, teachers will parrot student behaviors and show students what it is like for parents every single day and night. They should learn how it feels and recite the following every ten minutes: “treat others as you would like to be treated.” That is, in our program, our mantra.

Thank you for your attention and consideration. We know that the aforementioned programs will bring a brief respite for parents and some important information for the Juniors and Seniors in all High Schools. Please let us know what we can do to expedite this program. I mean that seriously, please.

Yours truly,

Parents of High School Students Incorporated

Advertisements

The Whiffleball Champ

Kids grow up so quickly these days, one minute you are holding their hand at the bus stop for the first day of kindergarten and the next, it seems, you are handing over the keys to your car.  They are connected to you, and they will always need you but it changes as they get older. It’s a transition, for everyone. I never thought that it was possible but you do get used to your children/young adults separating from you. You have no choice; it happens quite naturally; although, believe me, I still sing “Sunrise, Sunset” at every opportunity.

The quick-dash of our 17-year-old son flying out the door so he can play whiffleball with his best friends, a game they have played for many years.  They built and designed the playing field with lighting that could attract a Madison Square Garden concert, with bases that the Yankees would be proud to play in. The initiative to do it on their own, drive to Home Depot a number of times, to thoughtfully design and build it; that made it special; that made it their own and they will always have that, in later years, they will have their memories.

They talk these days are about colleges, SAT’s and AP tests and how school is “technically over” with the exception of finals. The summer brings a much-needed refuge from exams and adult decisions and the dreaded common essay. These group of friends will be entering their Senior year of High School in the fall and things will proceed full speed ahead from then on, and yes, it will be different. The posse will be going in all different directions for college but I have no doubt that they will always be friends.

Topics around our house include talk of the Volunteer Ambulance Corporation and how our son felt the rush of adrenaline when he was able to do compressions on a sick adult man.  The fact that his EMT complimented him on his technique was, to him, the highest compliment ever and he was ecstatic. “If I ever had any doubts about Medical School, I don’t now, wow, what an adrenaline rush!!!.”

That young, empathic,  compassionate boy that he was is now grown and channeling his inner gifts to want to help others. He has his goals set on being an ER doctor or a surgeon; I tell him he has plenty of time to decide.   He may not be the best athlete on the whiffleball team, he may even be one of the worst players, I don’t really know but it doesn’t matter to me.

He calls, after his game, to ask if I want anything from the ice cream store. He walks in, fifteen minutes later,  dusty and tired and grinning, bearing a scoop of vanilla cake batter ice cream for me, his mom, with rainbow sprinkles.  In my eyes, he is, one true champion.

PSAT: The Beginning

Lugubrious, Nefarious, Eviscerate. What do these words have in common?  You say nothing? Wrong.  They are all words to be studied for the infamous SAT’s my son will take in March.  The dreaded PSAT’s,  for anyone who doesn’t have a Middle School or High School student, are over. There is “before”  in the college process and then, there is” after”. This goes on for a very, very  long time.

At the moment, my son completed his PSAT’s taken with more than a little arrogance and plenty of time. “It was way easy” he proclaimed. Not so much when he got back his test scores (which I thought were pretty good). My approved quote to any mother that might ask how he did was “he was disappointed he didn’t do better.”  We now talk in code.

The kids can or cannot talk about their scores, this is individual. It may be alright with SOME friends but definitely not with others. Why, who or when is completely unknown. This is for KIDS ONLY.  If  I casually ask how a particular friend had done, I am met with an annoying glare, translated to “why on earth do you want to know and no way am I telling you.”

I’m not sure if it’s the age (okay, it is DEFINITELY the age) but communication, affection, closeness and manners all decline; this is from my own experience and those of my mom friends too.  We KNOW you have to separate, we KNOW you are going to college in a little under 2 years but really, there is nothing to prove to us. Ah, I see, kids are really doing it for themselves. We know it’s a process called individuation, but they don’t and that’s why they act up, guard their territory, communicate less, condescend more and basically act as if they have already packed up and left home. The only unknown is where their dorm room is, does it have a stereo system and which college they will be attending.  Other than that, they are pretty much done.

Except for the fact that the process is just beginning. After the PSAT you need to study for the SAT; many children (children?) go to tutoring. It’s just not that simple as that. There is SAT tutoring in large groups, SAT tutoring in small groups, and SAT private tutoring. For those who knew nothing about it and waited too long with their oldest child, (like us) there is also SAT tutoring on-line and no, silly, it is NOT free. Nothing is. You even have to pay for  the test….every single time you take it!!!   And, truth be known, students take it several times to see if they can better their score.  At some point, the parent or the child will just have to stop.

The next paragraph is pure conjecture on my part and in no particular order but from what I have been told, the tests just multiply after this. There’s the ACT (instead of or with the SAT) there a re subject tests (no clue how many) then there is the “Common Essay” that you use as your general essay submitted to a multitude of colleges. In addition, there’s the separate college essay that’s geared to a particular school, and they all want them. There’s the interview, the alumni interview, the visit- the- college- and- show- them -how- interested- you- are -interview and several others.  It’s not easy for the kids and it’s definitely not easy for the parents or for that matter, the younger siblings.

You CANNOT book a vacation or make any plans from halfway through Junior year to halfway (minimum) through your Senior year. You will be visiting schools with your parents, visiting schools with your friends, wanting to go to visit schools and of course not wanting to go at all and wish the decision could be made without you.

So far, we are at the very beginning of the process. My son puts his hands over his ears and screams Nah Nah Nah at the very thought of going on a college tour. Some of his friends have been on tours already, some already know which college they want to go to, if they get in. Then, of course, there’s early admission where you sign your life away and many other admissions after that, delayed, delighted and dismayed.

Hang in there with us. We’ll take you with us on every step of the prep. Enjoy your early High School years, they really are a lot of fun. But, think to yourself, as soon as second semester sophomore year approaches, it only goes downhill from there. They up the work load, pile on the homework, test your skills, dedication and ethics just to get ready to start the process from the very beginning, the PSAT.