The staff at Campus Bound has well over 100 years of combined experience, in fact, it’s probably closer to 200. About once a month I like to tap into that vast knowledge and experience to bring you a recurring blog called Advice From Inside. We know what it’s like to work in Admissions, so we’ll share some of our secrets.
This week, I asked our College Specialists, “Please give an example of when a parent over-stepped their bounds, or acted inappropriately.” The answers are sometimes funny, sometimes frightening, but point is, if you are considering doing any of these things…don’t!
Counselor #1- This sounds simple, but when students were deferred, it would always drive admission staff nuts when parents would call the office to learn why their children were deferred. I understand wanting to protect and support your child, especially when they receive unwelcome news…but the student should be the one calling–especially if they are the ones who want to turn that deferral into an acceptance and get into the college!
Counselor #2- Inappropriate: When parents write recommendation letters for their children. (I’m not kidding.) This happened at least a couple of times each year.
Counselor #3- Parents lied on their Financial Aid forms. Their daughter, who was clearly admissible to a certain school, was denied because the school was very much need aware and couldn’t afford to fund her 100%. Bottom line, this family needed no assistance, redid their forms honestly and after I petitioned the school, their daughter was (rightfully) admitted.
Counselor #4- After 12 years of working in Admissions I have many to choose from but a few always come to mind when this topic comes up. One, I really disliked when parents and the student would come up to my colleges table at a college fair and never let the student speak, the parent would do all the talking and use the word “we”, like they are all going to college together. Parents need to make the student talk and ask questions; this is going to be their college experience, not the parents.
Another time I had a parent write a glowing letter of recommendation for their child and it was the only letter of recommendation the student submitted. I called the student and told them I needed one from a teacher as it stated in our criteria to apply. The parent then got on the phone and told me they were also a teacher at the student’s school and so why did that not count. I explained we needed one from a teacher that is not the student’s parent to get an unbiased viewpoint of how the student is in a classroom setting. The parent was still upset and told me to call the school and talk to the student’s guidance counselor. So I did and they talked to the student and asked them to get a teacher letter of recommendation. Once I got the new letter it was not great, very generic and gave me no more insight into what the student is like. Ultimately the student was not admitted for more than a few reasons.
Counselor #5- I remember a mom calling to explain to me a bit more detail about her son, who was applying for admission. And she explained to me in depth about why I couldn’t judge him based on his test scores–he wasn’t a strong test-taker. That made sense to me until she went on to tell me why I also couldn’t judge him based on his performance in school (he had terrible teachers, a school that didn’t understand him, etc), but that I should know he was very bright and talented. Essentially, she wanted to make sure I knew that his grades and test scores weren’t valid predictors of his college success, but his mother’s opinion was.
While I appreciate that many students have extenuating circumstances that can shed light on a student’s application and preparedness, discounting grades and test scores and suggesting that I “take her word for it” was really not the right approach…
These are just some of the examples of “what not to do.” For what parent’s should do, take a look at this prior blog. And, if Campus Bound can help you and your family with any stage of the college process, call us today!