Not-so-harmless embarrassment

I worked with a student years ago who told me that when her father drove her to middle school every day, he’d roll down the windows and purposely blare his “old-time music” as he approached the school’s curbside. Then he’d yell, “Go get ‘em honey—another day to excel!” as she exited the car. She still […]

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Decision time

Seniors have until May 1 to make up their minds about which of their offers of admission to accept. If any soon-to-be college freshmen (and their parents) are wondering… Do I really have until May 1 to make up my mind? Some of these acceptance letters make it sound like I won’t get housing if […]

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A toolkit money can’t buy

Stanford Radio just aired this interview with former dean of freshmen and author Julie Lythcott-Haims on the dangers of overparenting and how to avoid that behavior. But she also takes the time to acknowledge that the overparenting phenomenon is present primarily in upper middle class families with parents who have disposable time and money and […]

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If/then vs. now/then

Too many students make college-planning decisions using the if/then model. If it will get me extra credit, I’ll participate in class. If I get elected to a leadership position, I’ll take on more responsibility. If it will help me get into an Ivy League school, I’ll perform some community service hours. But the if/then approach […]

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No parents allowed

Some friends were recently telling my wife and me that their four-year-old daughter began ballet classes a few months ago. But until the first recital, they’d never actually watched their tiny dancer do any ballet. It’s not that they aren’t invested parents—they are. But the instructor has one rule that must be followed: Parents are not […]

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What are you doing this summer?

One of the many symptoms of the college admissions frenzy is the extension of classes, activities, and other seemingly productive expenditures of student time and energy into the summer months. While the intensity may be misguided, the spirit is not. Motivated, curious, interesting students don’t want to spend their summer sitting on the couch every […]

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More on the class rank debate

The public school system in Spokane, Washington, recently announced that they will eliminate both class ranking and the valedictorian system from high schools. Walt Gardner, a 28-year veteran of the Los Angeles Unified School District and a lecturer at the UCLA Graduate School of Education, disagrees with the decision. And Denise Pope, co-founder of Challenge […]

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Still spot-on today

There’s nothing particularly new or surprising in high school counselor extraordinaire Patrick O’Connor’s “The Ten Things We Learned this Application Season.” And that’s precisely why I’m sharing it here. So much of the buzz, confusion, and anxiety surrounding college admissions comes from the sense that it’s an ever-changing process. Moving targets. Changing rules. One small […]

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