You are going to see friends posting where they visit and apply, or talk about their “first choice” on social media. We have seen this backfire too many times, so our strong recommendation is to keep your college search close to your vest (or sweater, shirt, hoodie for non vest wearers) until you make a final choice.
The reality--especially in the age of social media and cocktail parties--is that college chatter can have unintended consequences. When it comes to applying and paying for college, your family (and those of your friends and colleagues) normally feel a disconcerting combination of pride, nervousness, and lack of control. As a result, at athletic games, parties, or online they end up in conversations about who was or was not admitted to certain colleges, or speculating about why the class salutatorian did not receive that major merit award. Often it leads to hurt feelings, upset children and unchecked rumors.
Since you do not control exactly how admission decisions will play out, and because money, emotions, and many other factors shift and influence your final college choice, you want people around you who you trust and know are completely on your team.
DRAW IT OUT
Take some time to write a few names in the circle below. (Yes, it’s ok to put someone right on the line or just outside of it.)
Think about who you trust to give you honest feedback, to review your essays, to provide insight on what you are known for, and to listen to your why and speak to your thought and decision-making process; to celebrate with you when you receive offers of admission, and to console and encourage you when disappointments arise.
Think about who you trust to keep the details of your family’s search between you. Who has been through this experience recently and can offer accurate information and straightforward feedback and/or support?
In one of your initial weekly family meetings, talk about the names in the circles above and why each person is listed. If you are committed to keeping your college list, acceptances, considerations, and deliberations private, they will respect that and buy in. Trust and communication go hand in hand. Students, be honest with your parents about what you are and are not comfortable with them posting, commenting, or sharing about your college admission experience.