Tag Archives: college admissions

I Hate Everything About College Admissions in this Country!


I hate everything else about the cattle chute that either gets students into colleges in this country or dumps them out!

Here are my specific hates:

1)    I hate the process of applying to college.  In particular, I hate it that all application forms have different required essays, so a student has to sweat over not one but five or ten different essays!

2)    I hate deadlines that come too early!

3)    I hate Super Parents who are completely on top of those deadlines, along with everything else about the process (such as the need to push your kid into taking AP’s as early as sophomore year if you really want them to rank at the top of their class!) while the rest of us muddle along.


4)    I hate the SAT and the ACT and anything else that judges my kids based on one morning in a high-pressured testing center with ONLY number 2 pencils and completely filled in ovals!

5)    I hate it that some great extracurricular but non-social-impact activities that your kid loves count for nothing!  And I hate it that anything the kid did before the 9th grade also doesn’t count!

6)    I hate the FAFSA (which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid)!

7)    I hate the fact that the FAFSA always comes up with a ridiculous amount that you supposedly can afford as your parent contribution—one that has no relation to reality!

8)    I hate it that you have to fill out a new FAFSA every year of your child’s time in college.  So far, we have filled out the FAFSA 13 times, and we have at least 3 more times to go!

9)    I hate filling out a damn Master Promissory Note for a student loan!

10)    I hate it that any member of the so-called Middle Class, who isn’t either filthy rich or desperately poor, can’t ever get enough financial aid to be able to send their kid to college without loans, even at your state’s public university!

admissions game
The Admissions Game

11)    I hate the CSS and the IDOC, both asking for different information.

12)    I hate it that you really have to do your taxes before you fill out the FAFSA, unless you happen to like going back in and correcting all the errors you made when you estimated!

13)    I hate it that a student has to be the first chair in their local symphony, the top of their class, a world-class athlete and the founder of their own high-impact non-profit in order to get into an Ivy League school!

14)    Most of all, I hate, hate, hate that some kids feel bad when they get turned down and actually believe that they must not really be as smart as they thought they were!  There is not enough press about how much randomness is involved in the process (who happens to read your application, what students that college happens to need at the time, where you happen to live in the country, what race/ethnic group you happen to belong to, how you happen to approach an essay on the day you sit down to right it, whether or not you happen to have had a good night’s sleep the night before the SAT, and on an on)!

A Meditation on Children Going Off to College



Every August, I think I’m prepared for it.  After all, the house has been a mess all summer with their cartons full of school books, their various computers and printers,  and their mini-fridges.  But then, every August, I have to face the reality that my older children are no longer mine, come the 25th of August,  and I get to turn back into a non-speaking, uninvolved hose that feeds money to them on a weekly/monthly basis, for their latest bookstore bill, parking sticker,  or Art History field trip to the great museums of New York.  I no longer know what they’re doing on Saturday night (thank God!).  Unless they happen to call me up and tell me, I don’t know if they are happy or sad or getting sick or anything.  I know of people who didn’t even realize that their son/daughter had never attended a single class at their college of choice until they went to Parents’ Weekend!  Parents don’t get to be involved in any structured way in the whole process of choosing what classes they take (unless you count paying for those classes).  I am happy to say that I have no role in their choice of clothing! But I also don’t get to ask questions about most subjects without their permission, and  I don’t get a copy of their grades, unless they choose to share them with me. The only thing I have reasonable access to is the tuition bill. There’s a surprise! Continue reading A Meditation on Children Going Off to College