Thursday, June 7, 2012

What a Video Started

Recently, my husband sent me a link to a video– it was a cute video of the Harvard University baseball team lip-synching and doing the moves to a popular tune. This is not unusual, he often sends me links he thinks I’ll find interesting or amusing.

Then he sent me several more links. . . to Harvard’s admissions site, to an essay written by a Harvard instructor formerly on the school’s admissions board. These links gave great advice about what Harvard looks for in reviewing their applicants. (It’s not all about the GPA or test scores, folks - though that is important.) Then he sent me a screenshot of what, based on our current incomes/estimated financial ability to help our student, a Harvard education would cost us for one of our boys. I was shocked…and not in the way you’d think (is reverse sticker-shock a thing?).

This sparked an interesting conversation about how, crazy as it sounds, college is something we need to be thinking about already, especially for our oldest (who just finished 6th grade). I pushed gently suggested that it might be time to have a “college talk” with Jacob. At dinner, the conversation “naturally” came up (we *might* have planted the start of that conversation by talking about the baseball team video). We talked about how J certainly didn’t need to decide rightnow what he wants to be when he grows up, or even what school he wants to go to. But we tried to emphasize that right now it is important that he makes – and continues to make – GOOD choices.  We talked about the importance of making choices that would not limit him when the time comes to make the BIG choices, like colleges and majors. When that time comes, we want him to only be limited by what he wants to do and where he wants to go, not “where he can get in.”

We also talked about remaining a well-rounded kid. I know I’ve talked a lot about all the sports our big boys are involved in, but they’re also straight A students, and Jacob has sat first chair trombone all year in beginning band (and we just found out he made the school’s top band for next year!). We encouraged him to stick with all those things as long as he enjoys them and feels he can balance it all, and we promised to help him with that balance. We encouraged him to start thinking about what drives him or what he’s passionate about.

I know all this sounds like really deep conversation for an almost-12-year-old, but I promise the conversation was age appropriate. I’m not sure what I was expecting J’s end of the conversation to be like, but I know I was surprised that he was clearly already thinking along similar lines (I give a lot of credit to his teachers and school administrators right now – they push their students in just the right ways).  He asked about what we thought was a “smart use” of a homework pass (getting to skip an assignment with no penalty). J talked about maybe being interested in architecture, and even maybe in TCU (my alma mater, so, yeah, I was happy to hear that!), as well as other colleges (and majors), of course.

When did you start thinking about and talking about college with your children? How did you approach the subject?

Julie Daneman is wife to Bryan, Stepmom to Jacob and Caleb, and Mommy to Sam. They are a boisterous, loving, happy interfaith family.

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