Wednesday’s Parent: Parent vs Student Reasoning


parent vs student reasoningThe stress of the college admissions season weighs heavy on your college-bound teen. I read an old NY Times blog article that went inside the mind of a college-bound teen by asking them exactly what they were feeling and thinking. Students voiced their concerns related to college prep; but what would the parents say? What is the parent vs student reasoning?


Students may seem fearless at times, but as they approach the final months of high school fear sets in. One teen, Phoebe Lett, 16 talks about how she feels as a junior.

“I fear for my rapidly approaching senior year. Should I really spend nine hours a night on school work? As I rack up as many extracurriculars, community service hours and “beneficial relationships” (college-prep speak for impressive recommendations), I can’t help but think that it’s not good enough. Better grades, higher scores, more varsity letters, more leads in the play: have I been bulking up an application that perhaps doesn’t reflect who I am, but instead just represents what a college wants from me? That is my true fear.”

Parents, on the other hand, feel fear as well. They fear their student will experience rejection on so many levels. Along with this, they fear their student won’t make the right college choice and regret it later.


The pressure they feel is of paramount proportions. This pressure will be exhibited in all kinds of emotions from tears, to anger, to denial to frustration. Robin Karlin, 17 felt the pressure of failing.

“Around the application deadline you’re studying for finals, and it’s your senior year. You already have a lot of classes and you have to write essays and you’re already stressed out thinking “what if they don’t want me?’’ And you worry what if you don’t get into any school at all? I’m not from a big city. We have pretty good schools, but I think in a bigger city with more people you have more perspective on where you stand in the nation. I’m not really sure how good I am.”

Parents feel pressure as well—from other parents, from themselves and sometimes from the students as well. Other parents can make them feel inadequate. They feel pressure when it comes to the finances related to college. They also feel pressure from their student when they choose a college that is out of their financial reach.


If your student hasn’t experienced rejection, get ready. There’s a strong possibility some of the colleges they apply to won’t offer them admission. Sam Werner, 18, felt disappointment when the rejection letters started arriving.

“Everyone I had talked to, once they heard “perfect SAT,” they said, “You can get in anywhere.” That was the hardest part, having everyone tell me I would and then not getting in. It was a rough few days. The rejection letters and my parents both kept telling me it’s not a case of me not being good enough, but a case of too many qualified applicants. But it’s really hard not to feel like you got rejected….”

Parents feel the same rejection students feel when they aren’t offered admission—perhaps more. It’s hard to watch your student do their best, only to realize they didn’t achieve their goal (through no fault of their own).

Relieving some of the pressure

College admission is how students (and parents) define their success. Years down the road, you will see that some of those rejections probably sent you and your student into better directions. In the meantime, recognize your feelings and empathize with your student. You can both weather the college admissions storm together.

Read Wendy’s Post: How Parents and Students Can Be on the Same Page


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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Wendy and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from parentscountdowntocollegecoach to and vice versa.

(Visited 73 times, 1 visits today)

Comments are closed.