The college application process has begun.
Waldorf high schools really don’t start talking with their students about college until January of their junior year. Students take the PSAT the first part of their Junior year, review the results with their college counselor, and then college discussions begin in earnest. We are in earnest now.
The other night I mentioned to Cole that I had received an e-mail from his college counselor about attending our first high school college preparatory meeting. The meeting would take place the first week in February, and we would review a college to-do checklist and learn about the application process, scholarships and timeline in depth. I wasn’t expecting him to leap with joy, but on the other hand I wasn’t expecting him to say with absolute conviction, “I hate everything to do with this college process”—which he did. I tried (really) to offer a cheer of excitement and shine with a collegiate colored aura ,but Cole just looked at me. Hard. I agreed that the process sucked and offered to take brownies to the meeting.
How do I know the process sucks? I pay attention. And over the years, I have never heard one parent of a college-bound kid say, “Those college forms were sure easy to fill out” or “My kid did all his college essays in a week without any prodding from us at all” or “Financial aid forms were a breeze” or even “We never thought once about acceptance or rejection letters once the forms were in the mail.” What you do hear is teeth gnashing and exasperated wailing shared with friends and family throughout the entire college enrollment process. However, all the angst is worth it, right? Maybe for a brief moment, after the first few acceptance letters arrive, parents share how relieved and happy they are…and then you run into them after they drop their kid off at college and they share stories—stories of sitting on their kid’s dorm bed and running their fingers across the new Bed Bath & Bring it Back comforter, remembering how not so long ago their child’s comforter had been covered in colorful trucks. Then they blink back a tear and tell you how fast the time goes.
Cole hates the process for many of the same reasons I do: the firsthand experience of watching his friends struggle with testing, applications, parental pressure and disappointment. At least he goes to a Waldorf school, where the entire goal of high school is not centered on getting into the right college—and for that alone, Waldorf School tuition is worth it.
This is the first post of what will be many about my college-bound kid and our adventure. The next post will center on the stack of college mail sitting on my desk. Cole ignores the stack entirely, and I have only opened one piece that read, “The search for the right college is exciting, and we’d like to celebrate this time with you…” I’m mailing them a brownie in the return address envelope.
Odd Loves Company.