A Letter To Ivy Obsessed Parents: Part 2

ivy leagueIn Part 1 of this post we told you:
– About the many great colleges out there
– That it’s your student’s turn, that your kid wants to make you proud
– That they really do listen
– And that it’s getting progressively tougher to get into school
Here are 5 more reasons not to focus too much on Ivy League schools.
Many very successful people in the world did not go to one of these schools
This is SO true.  Take a poll among your most successful friends.  Success is ultimately determined by the drive, not the name on your diploma.
Be sure you are not trying to impress your own friends by using your child
It’s so easy to get caught up in the chatter of other parents, and the silly bumper stickers people put on their cars.  If your children are happy and healthy, who cares what other people might think?  Be sure the kids are the first priority, and don’t let people get to you with all of their “keeping up with the Jones” blather.  Teach your kids to be individuals who think for themselves and they’ll be leagues ahead already.  And by tuning out that chatter, you’ll feel better, too!
Understand who gets into college first
These types of colleges first have to accept all of their athletes, donors’ kids and family, (often) faculty kids, and any certain groups they may targeting for diversity (this includes geographic).  Then the rest of the world is considered.  After they take all of these students, usually in the Early Decision round, then there aren’t many spots left, so the first kids looked at in this stage are the incredible kids with international recognition or publication credits (yes, these kids exist), and any students needed for a certain artistic talent, like marching band.  Then the strong kids are considered.  It would seem to me that the class would likely be full by then.  They also try to save a few spots in case incredible kids come in after the ED applicants.  This should help you understand your student’s odds a little.
Realize that with this Ivy Hype we are raising a generation of students who do not sleep
They are called Super Students and they get on this “Race to Nowhere” and try very hard to be “perfect”, which as we adults know is not possible.  These kids don’t sleep, they try to get straight A’s, they try to double up on math or science classes AND take a third foreign language at the local college, and they try to do something with global significance, they run three clubs at school and sometimes play a sport or two, all while trying to be a teenager and go to homecoming.  It’s frightening and unnecessary.
Your child may not like the same type of college that you liked
This is important to think about because just because you are genetically similar does not mean that you are the same type of student or the same type of person.  Consider your child honestly and ask yourself (better yet, let the student lead these conversations and you just listen), what kind of academic setting is best for my student?  What kind of social setting?  An Ivy degree is not the key to happiness, so be sure to help your student find a great fit college.
When it’s all said and done, your student will be accepted to many great colleges that will most likely not be in the Ivy League, and he or she will go to one and be very happy there.  This is the reality. I realize that many of these points are delicate, but in a quieter moment, please consider the reality of today’s world of college admissions, consider the school that would best suit the unique persona of your child, and consider the overall health and happiness of your student–which is the most important factor of all.
We all want our kids to feel loved and encouraged, and the one thing they most need to hear from you, their parent, is that you will be happy–and proud–wherever they go. 


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