College Admissions time is a pretty stressful period for parents everywhere…. I guess in all the 196 countries in this world. But “our whole family is involved” phenomena in this stress taking and stress giving process… is something that is more prevalent in developing countries.Parents are parents everywhere, they wish for the best for their children and in many western countries they feel their children’s best is best known to their children than the parents. This doesn’t happen in India ….in some cases we parents work hard to give enough stimulating experiences to our kids to find their passions. Then we sit back and let them take their own decisions in what they want to become or do in their adult lives. But other times we work a little too hard for our kids and take decisions for them ….for their future with or without their consent …..and sometimes force, brain wash or manipulate our kids to do what we think is right, push them to a career path that presents a decent and safe job option for future.
I am an Indian parent who belongs to the first category. My daughter and not me I guess is the right person to authenticate or rubbish this notion. It is stressful for sure ..I am writing this post to talk about the anxiety of uncertainty we parents and kids feel during the admissions process. Also to help other parents understand that there is a whole lot needed for our children’s succeeding in getting admissions to good colleges. Having said that I also have a firm belief that only getting the admission into a good happening college doesn’t guarantee success and happiness forever. Now that my daughter’s admission is done, my realisation is that …inspite of all that stress…it is and it always will be worth to take this journey with our children. But with a reminder that this has to be their journey …. in which our children are in the driving seats, not us.
One down ….and one to go …I am one experienced parent Hahahaha…some beautiful grey hair I have now. The amount of research I did and the knowledge that I have gained of the admission process funnily makes me I think I can easily take away the jobs of some career counsellors for sure, Counsellors who are earning a hefty amount selling dreams to our children and making the parents pay a huge price for their aspirations.
The college admission process …for foreign colleges starts an year or two in advance and depending on the countries and colleges being applied to …includes maintaining a good academic record , SAT /ACT self study or taking coaching classes for the tests , doing community service projects and internships, writing meaningful statements of purpose and tons of essays, sports and extra curricular involvement in school and outside etc ….all done hopefully not just for the sake of admissions in the best colleges but also for building an interesting and worthwhile life beyond school.
For Indian colleges the process starts many years in advance …..studying in the coaching centres for IIT, law, design, architecture, entrances exams for many other fields and off course working really really hard to get marks in 90’s to stay on the top of college cut offs.In Indian Colleges context , we are just too many people, too many children studying …too much unjustified reservation, very few good colleges and thousands of students eying the limited seats. Some upsets in some cases were unexplainable, some admissions or lack of entry due to them not meeting their cutoff remains questionable.
Foreign College Admissions were a similar story …children had a few hits and misses there too…again in some cases for reasons unknown. At these colleges the portfolios, SOP’s and essays counted big time, along with community service projects and internships. In some cases portfolios and essays were not student’s own work but were outsourced. And unfortunately for the deserving ..some admission officers in foreign universities were successfully fooled by the fakers. Thankfully unlike India many foreign universities give unconditional offers…. that gave a breather to the smart students and a way out to some who didn’t do very well….and also to the ones who did very well but not well enough for DU and the other coveted colleges in India.
This year’s admissions are done, sealed envelopes have been opened and uncertainty is over. But now that the results are out, I am wondering if we really got it right. Looking at the present scenario around me …I am not sure if the best students got the best possible options …colleges suiting their calibre, aptitude and the right fit for them. All in all I don’t know if they got the courses they wanted or not …but they got their closure ….a reward for keeping their best foot forward and also for not so best maybe.
Hoping some of us ……completely involved parents …..whose kids got their dream and reach colleges …will let them be from here on!
Hoping some of us ….who found little time for aiding our kids with motivation and guidance during the process …will hand hold now and not get into a blame game!
Hoping some of us …who did both….giving guidance and space to our kids …and still had more misses than hits….can let go of past and move forward. Because the marks or the admissions to best colleges and doing it right as per the standards …is sometimes not what is best for our children…..maybe they have some lessons left to learn or maybe the time isn’t right yet …..or ..maybe their destinies are bound somewhere else, maybe the path they took wasn’t theirs at all , maybe they are the next Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world who had to quit somewhere to shine somewhere else!