Parent Protip: Does a Prestige College Really Matter?

As we enter October, many parents and students alike begin to feel the college application pressure mounting. If you have a junior or senior, chances are you've had at least a few of the big college talks, and you may find that the closer you get to the actual application deadlines, the more heated/frustrating/anxiety-provoking these talks become for both you and your daughter! One parent and educator recently wrote about this college pressure cooker and what really matters when you're raising a soon-to-be high school graduate.

We must stop the competitive, ridiculous, and oftentimes painful race to college. We must remember that our children come from us but are not a reflection of us. Together, we can stop this madness and allow our children to find their way in this world, prestigious college or not. By embracing what makes THEM happy, and by seeing them as the creative beings that they are, we can stop competing with each other as parents, and they can enjoy, flourish and even love this one life they have.
— Michelle Rose Gilman, via Huffington Post

The race to the top can mean sacrificing down time, taking on too much, prioritizing prestige over goodness of fit and can leave any parent or teen feeling overwhelmed, burned out and discouraged. What Ms. Gilman recommends is a reframe of what really matters in raising a child to adulthood. 

Does your child have a compassionate soul?
Does your child have a healthy dose of intellectual curiosity?
Is your child resourceful and independent?
Is your child happy with who she is?
Can your child creatively problem-solve?
Is your child passionate about anything?
Can your child sit with himself and enjoy his own company?

As you enter the minefield of college applications, remember to be compassionate with yourself and your teen. It's easy to get lost in the competition, the all-or-nothing thinking, the feeling that everything hangs in the balance of this One Big Decision. Be gentle with yourself and your daughter. Remember that whichever path she takes, she will learn from it, grow from it and ultimately find her way. Her path may look different than you envisioned. She may take unplanned detours along the way. Rest assured that the name on her college diploma will not determine the quality of her character or of her life.