I admit it–I've got a collegiate crush on the College of Wooster. I've written about them before and this probably won't be the last time. But for now, I'll hold off on my praise for Wooster and instead praise a parent I've never actually met.
This is a video, presumably shot by a father, of his son Kyle's freshman orientation day at Wooster (parents are encouraged to attend this day at Wooster–and lots of them do so). Wooster tradition dictates that the Fighting Scot marching band leads the new freshman through the campus to their first convocation where they are reunited with their parents.
My favorite part is at the 0:57 mark when the father yells, "Kyle! Kyle!" from behind the video camera in a valiant attempt to get his son's attention. And Kyle does his best to ignore his father, just as any 18-year-old college freshman would be virtually bound by law to do in this situation.
Parents of students who are going through the college application process can learn a lot from this video.
No, you should not fill out applications for your student. You should not write his essays, pick his colleges for him, or in any way hijack the process from your college applicant. One of the most important steps a parent of a college applicant can take is to back off and recognize that this is your student's college process, not your own.
But you retain the inalienable parental right, nay, the parental obligation to embarrass the bejeezus out of your kids with overt displays of pride and excitement over whichever college they choose to attend. Don't hold back. This is the time to let loose.
The College of Wooster is not what you would call a "name-brand" school. But this parent obviously knows that how famous a college is should have no bearing on his level of excitement for his son. He's out there with his video camera capturing every moment of his son's experience (and then posting them on YouTube!). This is a father who's taking his responsibility to display parental pride seriously.
Kyle may act embarrassed now, but I bet he will later recall fondly how happy his father was to see him starting college.
Parents, you've got a choice to make. You can pin your excitement on the admission of a few selective colleges, crossing your fingers in belief that anything less than an Ivy League acceptance just won't be good enough for your son or daughter.
Or you can resolve to get the video camera out and flaunt your pride wherever your student ends up in college. It might not be easy for some parents, but this dad shooting the video is showing you how it's done.