Around this time every year, parents call us to tell us how amazing their children are and how they’re applying for admission to Harvard or Stanford in the Early round. We used to wonder to ourselves why parents like to call us simply to brag about their children, but we’ve long since come to the conclusion that it’s grounded in insecurity. They’re not sure if their kid is going to get into Harvard or Stanford, even though they let on just the opposite over the phone. And now that it’s October 13th, just a couple of weeks before the Early deadline at most highly selective colleges, they’re panicking. But they still can’t bring themselves to ask if maybe their kid shouldn’t write an essay about traveling across Europe in his Personal Statement. All they want to do is brag. Brag, brag, brag.
In fact, many parents use up a good portion of their free 20-minute consultation with us simply bragging about their children. Do they think we actually care? Do they think we’re actually impressed? We are not. But you already knew that. Instead of bragging, they could be asking our advice on whether submitting a Personal Statement on foreign travel is a good idea (it’s a terrible idea!) or if that essay on basketball makes for a good Personal Statement (we can tell you write now that it doesn’t because sports are an all-too-common, trite college essay topic).
So, parents, if you want to brag about your kids, brag about them to your spouses. Brag about them to your dogs. When you call Ivy Coach and you seek out our advice, you might want to listen and let us lead the conversation. If you do that, your kid might actually get into Harvard or Stanford. Because your kid is definitely getting rejected by those two universities with a Personal Statement about foreign travel or sports. No matter how good it is. Let’s repeat that for effect — no matter how good it is! Oh, and by the way, it isn’t good.
While you’re here, read about the importance of being likable in your college essays.