Apple Trees, Hammocks, and College Prep

I'd like to address high school juniors today, those who are at the end of their 11th-grade year. Some may have already graduated, although at this date it's a bit early. Those who have graduated (or will soon do so) become so-called “rising seniors." They will ascend to the highest level of high school student. They will also likely enter into that fearsome fall frenzy known as college admissions.

Since the 1980s I have worked with high schoolers and their families, helping them deal with both the preparation for and execution of the college admissions process. Across those decades I have met a wonderful group of young men and women who have had definite goals for their higher education and future. Along with these fine young people have come an equally interesting group of parents, many of whom displayed various levels of anxiety about their sons' and daughters' chances to gain admission to the most highly selective colleges and universities in the nation.

I was a member of this group once when my daughter and son went through the same process years ago. I endured many of the qualities I see in the parents I deal with. My wife shared those feelings and frustrations with me but not to the degree that I did. I didn't like going through it and I try to counsel anxious Moms and Dads about allowing the pressure to affect their lives more than it should.

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