News Herald – Juliann Talkington
College admissions anxiety is at an all time high.
The financial pressures of the weak economy, increasing college costs, and the recent data on the shortage of jobs for college graduates have driven parents to extremes.
For example, one high school mother helped her children set-up special, limited scope non-profits so they could receive national recognition, but also have plenty of time for the other things that are “required” for application to top universities.
Parents seem to be structuring their child’s life for admission to the “perfect” university. If the goal is really is a well-rounded, successful, happy child all the pressure and pre-planning are probably counterproductive.
Instead it is more important to focus on a few basic things and let the rest happen.
Build a strong base. Strong communication, numeracy, and problem solving skills are critical for success in the 21st Century. As a result, an outstanding K-12 foundation that includes advanced math, science, language arts, foreign language, and creativity training is imperative.
Develop a strong work ethic. Teach your child the importance of hard work. It is impossible to do anything if you don’t know how to apply yourself.
Embrace challenges. Encourage your child to take on projects that are difficult. Learning how to handle new situations and demanding requirements will prepare him/her for the rigors of life.
Explore. Allow your child to explore new things. Organized kids activities can be all consuming and limiting. If you go the organized activity route, allow your child to choose activities at the end of every season.
Experiment. Some of the biggest discoveries and most profitable business enterprises have happened by accident. Failure is often the key to success. Teach your child to welcome and learn from setbacks.
Dream big. If you can dream it, you can do it. Allow your child to dream and encourage him/her to follow his/her passions.
Build friendships. Human interactions make life interesting and are critical for success. Make sure your child has time to learn how to interact with and enjoy those around him/her. It is important that he/she learns to interact with people from diverse cultures and of different ages.
So rather than plan for admission to the “perfect” university, plan for a well balanced, lively, interesting childhood. This will allow your child to become a happy, successful, unique individual. In the process, your child can become the one-of-a-kind person that top universities want.