Effect of 10th Grade Lunch Detention on College Acceptances

Question: My daughter is a 10th grader and she has been pulling lot of late nights because she has 2 APs this year. She is not used to having less sleep and so she is unable to get up in the mornings. As a result, she has been late to school quite a few times. In addition, she is quite social and she has been talking in the class. So her first period teacher gave her a lunch detention, sent us an email asking us to speak with her to focus more in class. In that email, she also copied her counselor. While I think I need not have to report this detention, will this impact my daughter's application? I am worried that the Counselor might give a negative feedback of my daughter. Please advise. Thanks!

This is not anything that you have to worry about unless your daughter's problems escalate. A minor infraction in 10th grade doesn't have to be reported to colleges nor is it going to evoke negative comments from a guidance counselor at college-recommendation time. BUT ... your daughter does need to avoid an ongoing pattern of tardiness and bad behavior. She should write to that first-period teacher now to apologize for her late arrivals and for her chattiness in class and promise that she will be more focused from now on. She should send her counselor a copy of this message as well. If she can sit anywhere she wants in the classroom, she should try to sit up front and away from friends. If she has an assigned seat that is conducive to distractions, she should ask her teacher to move her.

Meanwhile, you need to walk that fine line that separates pushing your daughter to achieve what she is capable of achieving from pushing her SO much that she is constantly anxious. Most teenagers don't like getting up in the morning, but if your daughter is repeatedly staying awake until the wee hours to complete her school work, you really need to reevaluate her schedule. Too many parents these days focus on “elite college" acceptance for their children, and they jeopardize their children's health in the process. Some students thrive on pressure and can handle a full slate of AP classes but others are miserable.

So your daughter's current situation might just be typical teen behavior as she adjusts to the more advanced classes in school, but it also might be a sign that she is heading for Stress City. Use good judgment and know when to push and when to back off ... although finding that balance can be one of the toughest parts of parenting.