November 1. November 15. December 1. Deadline dates for early admission at hundreds and hundreds of colleges across the country. Over the course of the past few weeks I have written a half dozen or so letters of recommendation per week for many seniors in the Class of 2011. One of the most rewarding aspects of my position as President of Mater Dei High School is the wonderful opportunity I have to write a letter of recommendation or make a phone call on behalf of a senior student to a particular college or university. Even more rewarding and exciting is when that same student drops by my office or sends me a note of thanks, telling me that he or she has been accepted to the college or university of their choice.
While this is a very exciting time for our senior students, it can also be extremely stressful and on occasion, overwhelming. Therefore, as someone who has served as a professional educator at the college or high school level for 33 years, I would like to pass along a few words of advice and encouragement to the parents of students who are engaged in the college admissions process:
1) There are thousands and thousands of colleges and universities across the United States and in other countries around the world. There is a college or university out there with a program and a profile which fits your child.
2) Be realistic and rational when it comes to the college admission process (not every child is destined for admission to Harvard, Stanford or Notre Dame).
3) Be supportive. Be understanding. Be a good listener
4) Don’t Demand, Dictate or Direct
5) Let the final decision (after good counsel, support and analysis) on a college or university be that of your child. Remember that it is your child and not you who will be attending that college or university for the next 4-5 years.
6) Please have your student avail themselves of all of the college search and admission resources available on the Mater Dei campus through our Guidance & Counseling Office and College & Career Center. It should not be necessary for you to expend thousands of extra dollars for a private college placement counselor.
7) Ask for help if you are not sure what to do. The main reason why so many of us here at MDHS became educators was to help and support students in any way we can. Therefore, if you and your student need help and support in the college application process, you have counselors, teachers and administrators who are more than willing and able to help walk you through the process. You just have to ask.
It is my sincere hope and prayer that every member of the Class of the 2011 will enjoy a positive and successful college admission process experience. Thank you.