Halloween is full of frightening possibilities: haunted houses, slasher movies, costumes dripping with fake blood. But, nothing is as scary as dealing with the college applications process.
It’s enough to give you nightmares. Literally.
Last week I dreamt that the University of Wisconsin at Madison denied my application for admission.
Denied! Not even wait listed?!
No matter how much I pleaded with the admissions officers they wouldn’t budge. It didn’t matter that I already had an undergrad degree—and a law degree!
“We are a very selective school,” the admissions officer reminded me. “You will have to do better.”
(FYI: I didn’t go to the University of Wisconsin, I didn’t apply to the University of Wisconsin, my son has not applied to the school nor does he want to go there so I’m not even sure why I’m dreaming about that school.)
As if that wasn’t bad enough, last night I had a dream that I was admitted to some nameless/faceless school but once I got there I couldn’t leave.
No matter what mode of transportation I chose, I couldn’t get off that campus: I fell down when I was running away, the car wouldn’t turn on, the elevator wasn’t working, the taxi I got in kept bringing me back to the dorm. You name it, it happened to me. I was in my very own clichéd horror movie.
It would have been funny if it weren’t so scary.
So, why am I having these nightmares? I’m not the one with the looming deadlines and the multiple essays yet to be written. I’m not the one still weighing a decision to apply to a school with a November 1 deadline at 8:00 PM on October 31!!
I’m having nightmares because somehow, we parents have been roped into this process, a process that our parents weren’t even privy to. My parents didn’t even realize that I had sent in my college applications until they were in the mail. They didn’t read my essays or proof my application to check for stupid mistakes – that was all on me.
To top it off we parents now get constant updates from the college counselor’s office letting us know how much our kids need to get done and when. When I was in high school my mom and I had one meeting with my college counselor and that was the last my mom heard from him. No such luck here.
I understand that the college admissions process is ridiculously stressful for the students. Kids don’t apply to a handful of schools anymore; they apply to 10, or 12 or 15. And each application requires an essay (or three), and it really is a VERY BIG DECISION. The kids are stressed and this stress is spilling into other areas of our children’s lives, namely the dreams of their parents.
I can’t wait for him to get through this process and pick his school. Then I can have dreams about him being away from home and nightmares about how I won’t be able to reach him…