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I fell in love with the parent of an entering student. #admissions #emchat #highered

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A colleague of mine just rushed into my office to inform me that she’d just heard from a top recruit that the student was ready to commit to Augustana and “the money was one the way.”

This is always music to me ears and I dutifully celebrated with the counselor and congratulated her. I also took the opportunity to listen the story behind the commitment. This is always the best part of the job for me; learning how a student navigated the process, interacted with our office and partners, and finally arrived a final college choice.

This particular story, as conveyed by one of the counselors here, made me fall in love with the parent of this student, though!

Yup, the parent. 

(The student is awesome, too.)

Why the parent?

And, why a parent I’ve never met?

I mean, how could I be in love?

Let me tell you. This parent did exactly what I wish every parent would do. 

As my colleague described the story of the student’s choice, which apparently had been made some time ago (but wasn’t officially final until an offer of admission was in-hand), she told me what the student’s mother made the student do before committing and sending in an enrollment deposit.

When the decisions was made the parent asked the students, “how are you going to tell the other colleges.” As one might expect the student answered, “I will send them an email.” The students asked, “do you think that’s ok?” The parent asked in turn, “what do you think?” That question led the student to conclude that a “break up email” was insufficient and said, “I need to call them, don’t I?” 

This parent didn’t stop with, “yes.” 

This student’s mother suggested her to write down exactly what she intended to tell all of the other colleges to which she’s applied and been admitted. Her mother helped her think about  what she might say, how she might thank the other colleges for their interest in her and how she could describe the process that led her to decide on Augustana.

And, the mother offered to to review the notes before the student called!

All of this was expected before the student could send the check into Augustana or officially notify anyone here on campus—an admissions counselor or a coach.

What an admirable mother!

Man (don’t tell my wife), but as an admissions officer, I love this mother for teaching her daughter responsibility and respect. Too few parents would expect the same from their sons and daughters. Too few parents recognize how much admissions counselors and others put into the recruitment process and how much we appreciate a thank you and candid break-up.

My colleague, who spoke to the mother earlier today, told me that the mother said, “learning how to say no respectfully—even is hard to do—is a very important lesson for my daughter.” I wish every parent was as thoughtful as conscientious about teaching their son or daughter this very important lesson as part of the college search. 

Since it’s early in the admissions cycle for the year, I hope this is a harbinger of things to come.

W. Kent Barnds a.k.a. @bowtieadmission

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