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Thursday, November 20, 2008

College Application Trepidation

November is not only the season of Thanksgiving, but in my household with a high school senior in our midst, it is also a busy time filling out numerous college applications and writing essays. Both private and public college applications are due this month, which on top of an already harried and stressful schedule makes for one intense month. The other day my husband and I were out walking our golden and came across another dog-walker we often see. She has a son at our same high school and she really needed to take her walk. She was so uptight about the stress in her household you could sense it a mile away. She wasn't listening to the questions we were asking her about her dog, but went on and on to say how stressed her son is, how much she didn't like the pressure he was under, and it seemed the stress her son had just fell onto her own lap.

Should this time of year be this stressful for our children who are in the process of making their next big step in the world? The economy isn't helping either, that's for sure. Originally our goal was to see if our daughter could get into a UC school (for those of you anywhere else but California, UC stands for the University of California system, which includes prestigious schools such as UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, etc.). But now we are rethinking our own daughter's future based on the economic conditions, so much of our college savings plan was tied to our portfolio - sure wish we had a financial crystal ball right now. I sure hope a recovery is in the near future. Looking at our portfolio is as difficult as writing a college essay. If she does get accepted at a UC, we may still opt for a state college, which fortunately does have a great program for her intended major.

I'm just glad I wasn't wound as tightly as the woman we saw when we were taking a walk with our golden. In my opinion, the college application process and stresses it brings about are higher than they need to be. I had a mellow experience myself when I applied to college. At one point I wasn't even considering going to college but my older sister talked some sense into me. Looking back, 17-18 years old seems so young to really know what your interests are.

I'm just wondering - what will this experience be like for my grandchildren?

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