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Congratulations, Class of 2021...Class of 2022, It’s Your Turn

Some of my 2021 students will graduate next week! I am glad I got to know so many of them well.

These relationships can become intense for a year or two. The students who begin working with me as freshmen and sophomores generally don’t feel the full brunt of “college stress” until midway through junior year. My priority is helping students balance their lists, finetune their essay drafts, complete applications, strategize on where to send test scores, and do Naviance-related work ahead of schedule.

But an equally big part of my goal is to help them calm down.

Any pressure that I exert by asking for a second draft pales in comparison to the stress kids put on themselves. It’s exacerbated by the media, peers, and even (just sometimes) parents. Which script writer decided on Columbia as a college fit for Detective Elliot Stabler’s (Law and Order SVU) daughter, a Staten Island kid who periodically gets in trouble and is never presented as a stellar student? Siobhan on Mare of Easttown goes off happily to Berkeley. Bluebloods’ Jamie Reagan went to Harvard Law like Elle Woods before quitting law and becoming a cop, which was likely preordained in his family. Ladybird, with her poor grades and low EFC, somehow gets into NYU. I could give many more examples. No wonder the names of the most highly-competitive colleges are the ones families think of first; TV and movies suggest that “everyone” is admitted. No wonder they are shocked when their students who “have the numbers” don’t make the cut because of institutional priorities.

The late notification dates, deferrals, and waitlists of 2020-21 made it exceptionally tough for seniors. I felt my families’ pain and tried to explain by sharing statistics, all the while knowing that logic and probability don’t help when your kid is crying. All I can do is give perspective, believe in my students, and repeat that the stress of “not knowing” will dissipate and excitement will settle in its place. Yes, a small number of waitlisted students are waiting for that magic call from their dream school, but it's smarter and healthier to focus on the college you chose to send a check.

The actual work of applying to college is overwhelming and emotional for some, and each year I have students that I text daily. But ultimately, applying to college is a collection of tasks, and we progress through them with time to breathe and enjoy the holidays.

To my Class of 2022, I’m so happy to be working with you! The sooner we begin the work, the less pressure. Text me if you’re not on my calendar!


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