By Charlotte Latvala
Let’s face it: At 50, we barely remember why we chose the college we did. Maybe we randomly picked a school close to home, or gravitated to the university where our current girlfriend/boyfriend was headed. If our parents were involved, it was only to co-sign the student loans.
The expectations are different today. Your child’s success, after all, is your success, and nothing is more important than shoving your kid vigorously in the right direction. Here’s a little road map to help:
- Tell him if he doesn’t attend the college of your choice, he’s out of the will.
- When he reminds you that your net worth is basically whatever your old Pink Floyd albums would fetch on eBay, throw darts at a map until one lands on a college town. Announce, in your best Christopher Lee voice, “Then Fate has sealed your decision.”
- Add some clarity by repeating “This is the MOST IMPORTANT DECISION OF YOUR LIFE” on an hourly basis as your kid pours over college brochures and web sites.
- Keep the mood light by saying, “No pressure now!” disregarding the fact that you’ve compared him to an overachieving sibling for the past four years.
- When consulting with high school guidance counselors, use the royal “we.” (Caveat: You should only do this if you have a superstar child you enjoy taking full credit for.)
- Spend thousands of dollars on SAT prep classes so your child can test higher than his actual ability and make it into a college he isn’t prepared for. (Later, complain bitterly when he drops out.)
- Insist that he visit your alma mater. Tell long, pointless stories of your undergrad hi-jinks, culminating in a bawdy tale involving a freezing cold night, minimal clothing, and a cafeteria tray.
- Ask the tour guide embarrassing personal questions. Repeatedly reference beer pong to show how hip you still are. Ask loudly, “Was that a guy or a girl?” whenever a student with a man bun walks by.
- Elbow the other parents on the tour and say “Well, we didn’t have THAT in the eighties if you know what I mean!” (You don’t actually mean anything but this is a wonderful ploy to get your child to walk quickly away from you and finish a tiresome tour in a hurry.)
- Back at home, repeatedly call the admissions office to ask if your kid is “blowing everyone else out of the water.”
- Once he gets into school – any school – hold a bonfire and burn all the college brochures that accumulated in the past year. Trust us, you won’t want to relive any of this.