As we work to Revolutionize the way students tackle college entrance exams, we came across a New York Times opinion piece from this past weekend that caught our attention.
“Stop Asking About My Kid’s College Plans” by Elisabeth Egan is a heartfelt response to the helplessness many parents feel when THE COLLEGE PROCESS starts bearing down on their 16-year-olds. In our interconnected, hyper-stimulated age, it’s hard for parents to even relate to the pressure their kids are under. It no longer feels like enough to just get good grades, play a sport, and join a club or two – you have to co-author research papers, be Olympic bound, AND start your own foundation. Add in the normal trials and tribulations of being a high schooler – whether it’s learning to drive, establishing a sense of self, or worrying that you won’t get invited to Carly’s Sweet Sixteen – and you’ve got a recipe for stress that parents from previous generations just didn’t experience.
But what Ms. Egan highlights so charmingly is the pressure that parents experience as well.
“Want to know a funny thing? This is a very stressful time in my life, too. I sit next to a colleague whose mother is my age. My jeans are snug. My eyebrows are balding. And I have a child who’s a junior in high school, which means that everywhere I go, people want to talk about one thing: college.”
We’ve been teaching SAT prep classes for over 25 years, and we’ve seen firsthand the shift in parent attitudes toward academics. A 4-year bachelor’s degree from a well-regarded school is still remarkably valuable, but when you take an increasingly competitive landscape and pour gasoline on it with social media and modern advertising, the whole thing starts to burn down.
So what can you do? Well, we all need to remember that you can do absolutely everything right, still not get into Harvard…and still be remarkably successful in your life and career! At Revolution Prep, we’ve built our philosophy around the concept of developing a “Growth Mindset” – a mentality has been proven to lead to students actually growing and getting better!as opportunities for growth and discovery. No matter how someone does on their SAT, the belief that they can continue to grow and get better
That’s why our tutors are well-versed in growth mindset techniques and trained to build lifelong learning habits. As cliche as it may sound, instead of focusing on the end result, we should emphasize the skills kids learn along the way.
In her essay, Ms. Egan grows exasperated by how much her neighbors care about where kids go to college.
“I care too, but I also want to make sure my daughter can take care of herself when she gets there. Does she know how to fry an egg? Manage money? Speak up in a crowded room? I may not be able to help with trigonometry, but I can show her these things. I can teach her how to drive.”
So what we’re suggesting is to teach your kids to drive; don’t teach them how to win the Indianapolis 500. Give them the lessons you’ve learned, give them the confidence to learn some lessons of their own – and then give them the keys. And if they need help with trigonometry…well that’s what we’re here for!
All the best,