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Make Thanksgiving A College Free Zone

Scott Anderson, the Senior Director for Access and Education at The Common Application, wrote this advice in November 2015. Each year, these words become more important as the pressure of the college admission process grows for families.

“This week, as you gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, be mindful of the high school seniors seated at the table. Odds are they don't want to talk about their college applications any more than you want to talk about work.

Questions about college aren't inherently bad. In fact, most of them come from a place of caring. What people really want to know is how the kids are doing, what's going on in their lives, how they are managing stress, what they are thinking about their future. 

Teens are thinking about college but don't necessarily want to talk about it over mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It's infinitely more supportive to ask them about the things they love to do and the challenges and ideas that intrigue them than it is to inquire about what they plan to major in, how they intend to make a career of it, and what that career will be. It also invites them to ask you the same kinds of questions, which creates a space for real conversation, not one-directional interrogation--or the perception of it.

So please do the high school seniors in your life a favor. Help make the Thanksgiving table a college-free zone. Redirect the conversation. Ask questions that show you are interested in them, not their applications. Share stories about your own path. They are going to be fine.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



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