Wednesday’s Parent: Rivalries among college-bound teens

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Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

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braggingIt’s that time of year again—college offers of admission will be arriving and students will be responding to those offers. Years ago, on the popular show Dawson’s Creek, the teenage characters were going through the college prep process. As the process unfolded the viewers shared in every part of the process, from application, to waiting, to acceptance and rejection. Obviously the writers of the show had experienced this before because they were dead-on about the types of emotions teenagers go through during this period in their lives.

One specific storyline involved a girl who was striving for an Ivy League acceptance and a boy whose grades were not quite as stellar and had set his sights low when it came to college. It created quite a conflict—one student excited about their college prospects and the other stressed about getting an acceptance at all. It’s a fine line between showing excitement and bragging so much that it’s offensive to others.

This is a time to teach some life lessons that your teen can take with them to college and into their life as an adult.


Kids will be kids. And unfortunately they often mimic their parents (in a negative way). Bragging will occur—you can count on it. The rivalry will intensify when the offers of admission arrive. When this happens, this is a great opportunity for you to teach your teen about tolerance. Although they may not like listening to other kids brag, it’s a fact of life. People will brag and boast and they are bound to run into this as adults. Learning to deal with it now should make it easier in the future.


As the offers of admission arrive it’s a great opportunity for them to learn about gratitude. Being grateful for their success should make it easier for them to avoid making others feel inferior.


Part of the process is learning to accept the outcome and adjust expectations, especially if the outcome is not what they expected. Often acceptance is not easily achieved but it is part of facing reality and becoming an adult.


When their friends receive offers of admission and they don’t, or they get waitlisted, it’s going to be difficult. In life others will be promoted before them, own bigger houses and more expensive cars. Instead of feeling jealous or envious, it will be much easier to be gracious and celebrate their accomplishments.

The rivalry that occurs among college-bound teens is hard to deal with as a parent. We don’t like to see our kids hurt or their self-esteem destroyed by other kids; but you can use the opportunity to build character.

Read Wendy’s blog post: College admissions rivalry

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One Response to “Wednesday’s Parent: Rivalries among college-bound teens”

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