Looking for College Admissions Cracked?

Focus on What We CAN Do

Who would’ve thought that a year later, we’d still be living in college admissions limbo? Still no college tours, inconsistent modes of high school class delivery, and the standardized testing situation remains wonky. My heart aches for all the students who have missed milestones as well as daily intermingling with their peers.

And yet…

High school students are resilient, resourceful, and they’re still going to apply to, get admitted to, and go to college (if they want to). You can help your kid make that happen, when you focus on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t, and help your child do the same.

Some pointers…

  • You can sign up your kid to take an ACT or SAT, but don’t stress over it. Over half the colleges in the country are test optional for the coming year. Chances are, many will not resurrect the standardized testing requirement now that they’ve established a protocol for evaluating applications without them. Best case scenario, your child crushes the test and the high score enhances their application. Worst case scenario, the score disappoints, and they can just pretend like it never happened.
  • Students can take those May AP exams, though keep in mind that in the end, the Advanced Placement program that holds such cache in our country is just another hydra head of the College Board (the SAT creators). Download my new resource To Take Or Not To Take AP Exams to get a better sense of whether your child needs to take (and pay for) these standardized tests or not.
  • You can go on virtual college visits with your junior. Turn this into a game of virtual campus visit bingo or use it as an excuse to go on little fantasy vacations (colleges are picturesque!). Getting started will help make this whole college shopping thing less abstract for your child. Do your best to approach the college search as a grand adventure rather than a chore, and help your teenager get organized. If your kid virtually visits 2 colleges per week starting now, by the end of April, the equivalent of an entire spring break tour (and then some) will be a fete accompli.
  • You can celebrate all of your senior’s accomplishments on the road to admission, not just acceptances. Lots of colleges pushed back their application deadlines this year, which means your child might wait even longer than usual for notifications of admission to arrive, or they may already be rolling in. But getting in isn’t the only thing worth celebrating. Cobbling together college applications is hard work requiring reams of writing, awkward recommendation requests, torturous hours preparing for and taking tests, years of hard work in class, and nailing deadlines. If notifications have already started coming, follow advice for all outcomes in College Admissions CrackedRegardless, show your pride in your senior for getting the job done with cake! (See brilliant recipe below.)
  • You can encourage your freshman/sophomore to focus on extracurriculars in progress and keep records. Students are experiencing enough stress and FOMO from all the activity cancellations. Helping them understand that those cancellations will not tank their college admission chances can provide great relief. Let your child know that colleges are interested in whatever activity she’s naturally drawn to (except video games—sorry!), whether it’s organized by the school or not. She can begin a running list now of the ways in which she has channeled her creativity, helped your family or others, learned new skills, earned money, or stayed in shape since the world shut down. Then documenting it all on the activities section of her college application will be a cinch, when the time comes.

Sanity Saver…

I want to share with you the very special family recipe for my favorite cake of all time, the one I requested for every birthday when I was growing up: my mother Celia’s Celebration Carrot Cake Recipe. I consider this an essential download to add to my resources because we all deserve moist, cinnamon yumminess with the world as it is right now.

In Conclusion…

Please stay healthy. Stay as positive as humanly possible despite the craziness of this pandemic (and sometimes, let’s be real, our teenagers’ and our own emotions). Enjoy the crocuses blooming and spring virtual college tourism. And let’s all eat cake while we wait for herd immunity!

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