Wondering if your parenting style will influence your child’s case for admission to highly selective universities? There’s a great opinion piece in this month’s The Atlantic entitled “The Ivy Delusion.” In the article, Caitlin Flanagan writes about various parenting styles — of mothers specifically — and how these styles can influence the college admissions outlooks of their children. She describes different archetypes of mothers from the Amy Chuas of the world to the relaxed parents who merely want their children to live happy childhoods — even if that means not getting into an Ivy League school come their seventeenth year.
Writes Flanagan, “Elite-college admissions offices drive professional-class parents crazy because in many respects they do not operate as meritocracies. Consider, for example, those students admitted via one of the two programs that stand as strange mirror opposites: those that give preferential treatment to the sons and daughters of alumni, and those that extend it to the children of unrepresented minorities. The latter practice suggests that generations of injustice and prejudice can be redressed by admission to a fancy college, the former that generations of inclusion and privilege demand their own special prize; the two philosophies would seem to cancel one another out, but each has its place in the larger system.”
We at Ivy Coach don’t agree with Flanagan that you have to raise your children one way if they hope to get admitted to a highly selective university. There are many ways to raise children who will, in time, gain admission to top universities and ultimately become successful in life. Parents don’t have to force their children to take piano lessons. They don’t have to make them play chess if they don’t like it. Happy childhoods and paths toward admission to highly selective universities are not, in our view, mutually exclusive.
As Dartmouth alumnus Robert Frost once wrote, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Sometimes, the road less traveled may be the secret to both a happy childhood and admission to the college of one’s dreams.
Read our blog on “Helicopter Parents” .
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