All the things my son didn’t do to get into college

Layer a college admissions process on top of online schooling during a pandemic? 

Sure. Sounds great. 

The college admission process is chaotic during a “typical” year and this year amped that up x100. Was it still a stressful process? Yes. But some things made it easier. 

Here’s some of the things my son didn’t do to get to this point in his life. 

He didn’t listen to people. 

Braden has a strong sense of self and purpose. He took the high school classes he wanted to and not what was strongly recommended to him by others. He dropped AP courses after he learned more about their (to him) sub par curriculum. He took unweighted courses instead of more “rigor” AP because they were more fulfilling. He didn’t follow guidelines of 4 of everything- english, math, science, language and social science. His end transcript is just so perfectly HIM and isn’t that what it should be? 

He didn’t center his success or self identity around grades, gpa and test scores. 

He didn’t make high school the end all be all to his life and education. This isn’t how we wanted to raise him and when he wrote this piece for his high school paper? I knew in my soul I had done one parenting thing right. 

He didn’t put “safety” schools on his list. 

Every school on his list (and it was small) was one he would have attended. 

He didn’t go “Ivy Hunting.”

Many students, especially this year with test optional, applied to every prestigious school they could. I guess that’s fine if you like a lot of extra work to gamble on black. 

He (we) didn’t hire out a college consultation service. 

First of all, I completely understand why people do, it can be an enormous task to take on when it’s your first child going through the process. I even looked into it at one point but for the cost of them? We just couldn’t justify that. Did he really want or need a perfectly polished and coiffed college application anyways? No.

He didn’t have anyone outside our house edit his essays

His father and I read them over. Scott for grammar, me for overall tone. In the end the essays were 100% my son and not washed over with a vanilla bean for wide mass appeal. Hell, his common app essay was “Why I don’t like writing prompts.” Were there a few things that maybe his dad and I would not have said or written? Sure, but we weren’t the ones portrayed on the application. 

If my son’s writing doesn’t appeal to a college, then they should not accept him and he should absolutely not go there. 

He didn’t oversell himself. 

I hear this might be a midwestern trait but he didn’t overinflate anything he did or accomplished. Maybe to a fault, but again, that’s who he is. 

In the end my son got into his 1st, 2nd and free tuition option choices. Like I said, he had a small list and would have gone to any single one of the schools so we are thrilled for him. What will he study? He’s 18, so let’s give him some time but he’s looking at political science and music which is exactly what he said in 9th grade. I originally started writing on the internet (9 years ago!) because his educational journey so it felt right to bookend it with this post. I can’t wait to see how his next few years develop. He will be attending the University of Chicago in fall of 2021. 

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