I had a really nice afternoon yesterday. I had intended to write a post, and had even started it, when my daughter asked if we could look over her emails from colleges. My daughter is soon to be 16, a sophomore in high school, and normally spends free time in her room, texting or skyping friends or doing homework. Some afternoons she barely sticks her head out. So it was kind of a special occasion.
Anyhow, my daughter is a pretty driven kid. She has always known what she wanted and has always gone for it with gusto. She is more like her father that way. (I am sorry to say she certainly didn’t get drive from me!) She has known forever that she wants to be a writer, so she is determined to find a college that will help her get there.
Now I have done all this before. My son, a budding musician, just started his freshman year. So I have read all the emails, sorted through the view books and brochures, visited schools, asked questions and learned the process pretty well. As my son was so busy with school and music, I did most of the behind-the-scenes work myself until we got to the visiting and applying stage. He was really too busy to worry about all of it. Not so, my daughter.
She is also a very busy kid. She just isn’t going to let that get in the way of finding a good school. My son was content to leave the research to me. He told me what he wanted (sort of) and I figured out where to look. He narrowed it down and made the final decisions. My daughter wants to be involved right up front. I couldn’t be more delighted.
So we spent the afternoon looking through some emails she’s been getting and I pulled out some college books and we tried to start of list of potential schools to look at. We found some pretty impressive looking creative writing programs. We even found a program run by a woman who wrote the book that inspired my young 6 year old daughter to write in the first place. I believe we will look closer at that school!
So for any of you out there with high school aged kids, this college search thing can go many ways. I have heard all kinds of stories and many variations on the theme. The bottom line is, let the kid lead the way. They will know how much they want to be involved, and how much they want you to be involved. It is a different world than it was when I was a kid. The information is bountiful and easy to get, which makes the choices harder to make. But any way you do it, the process can be fun, uplifting, inspiring if you let it. It may seem like a nightmare at times, but if you start early enough, you will get through with some nice memories and maybe only a little craziness. And if you are lucky, a nice snow day afternoon or two!