Important today…or tomorrow?

I personally counseled students at Collegewise from 1999 to 2006. And several times a year since I stopped, I’ll wonder about whatever happened to a particular student. Thanks to Google, that answer is never far away.

During these searches, I’ve yet to find one former student who doesn’t appear to be gainfully employed. But more importantly, as more time passes, more and more of those former kids show up with engagement announcements. Many have wedding and baby registries. They’re not kids anymore—they’re adults. And their respective former Collegewise parents are now in-laws and grandparents watching their extended families grow.

And I’ll wager that none of those former Collegewise kids or parents care one whit today about things that mattered so much in high school like SAT scores or whether or not USC, Yale, SMU, or UW said yes.

One of the challenges for a high school parent is for you and your kids to focus on what’s important today, while remembering what will be important tomorrow. Yes, the grade in algebra is important today. The SAT prep is important today. The activities, the topic for the college essay, and the admissions decisions from colleges, those things are certainly important today. Your kids’ education and their college prep deserve to be taken seriously.

But just because something is important today doesn’t mean that importance will last forever. The trick is to give these things–the grade in algebra, the SAT scores, and all things related to college–a healthy dose of attention and effort…then find comfort in the fact that the specific outcomes likely won’t matter that much some day. That’s why none of my “Whatever happened to….” searches ever mention those kids’ high school GPAs or test scores. And it’s why you’ve probably never met a fellow parent who’s still lamenting a denial they received from a particular college when they were 18. Bigger things await all of us after high school.

Focus on what’s important today. But remember that what’s important tomorrow will really be the good stuff. And one grade, test score, or college admissions decision won’t take that away.