|By Puzzled on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 01:20 pm: Edit|
We've been trying to take a mostly hands-off approach to our son's college search and college applications process. So far, though, he seems to have little interest in getting down to the work of actually filling out applications, writing an essay, etc. He's certainly interested in going to college and talks about it using "when" not "if". How do we light a fire under him to get him going?
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Wednesday, October 10, 2001 - 03:21 pm: Edit|
I don't have an answer. I did have the same problem.
For what it's worth, my son is now attending a college that has a Feb. 1 application deadline. He missed the opportunity to consider and apply for some colleges. For example, he decided he might be interested in learning more about Swarthmore the day after the application deadline -- needless to say, he never did have the opportunity to "learn more."
My son also missed the opportunity to avail himself of early action and early decision options. If he had been admitted ED to his first choice college, he would have been guaranteed financial aid -- he applied RD, got no aid, and is going to his second choice. Probably better in the long run, anyway -- but if your son has a strong preference for any one college, ED would give him an edge in many ways.
The best I can suggest is that you try to get your son to commit to getting everything done during a specific time frame -- for example, over a specific weekend -- and then leave him alone until then. Be sure to note specific deadlines -- I put up a chart on the wall with space to enter all the deadlines and relevant dates for each college.
However, my experience with my son was that he didn't consider the time required for transmittal of documents -- so he would think he could meet a deadline by finishing the task on THAT particular day. We were o.k. in the end, as most apps were submitted electronically, but it's not exactly the way I like to work.
Good luck -- all I know for sure is that the more you nag, the more the kid will delay, so you have to relax and hold back at least until the deadlines are really imminent.
|By Puzzled on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:29 pm: Edit|
Thanks for the advice, California Mom. I'm trying to keep track of the dates, and made a list of colleges and important dates to leave out on the table. I'm trying not to nag, and am hoping that he can do the math... :-)
|By hopingtohelp on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 10:37 pm: Edit|
I have one kid who will do the process all on her own. My son, however, who is the current applicant, would do it all on his own and ask me to read it at 3 a.m. the night before it is due. I told him I would refuse to do this, and in order for him to achieve the goal of having me read his app we set up a schedule over a couple of months, including the things he needs to do (such as write part one, write essays, etc.) and also the things I agreed to do (order board scores sent, etc.). This way it is not all about me hounding him, but about the two of us working together on a schedule we planned out together in order to achieve his goal. So far, so good. Minimizes yelling, too. ;-)
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Saturday, October 13, 2001 - 02:37 am: Edit|
3 a.m.? My son never was ready for me to read over his term papers for school until at least 5 a.m.!
But you're right - we did try to get a schedule together for the college app process, and your breaking it down and dividing tasks sounds like a good approach. We were lucky because UC had an earlier deadline than many colleges, and the personal statement he wrote for the UC application was ultimately revised and rewritten to be the primary essay for the common app.
That's another piece of advice: if you are the parent of a procrastinating child, then he should only apply to colleges that accept the common app. or have the same basic "event that changed your life" type of essay questions. It's bad enough getting ONE essay done...
|By Puzzled on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 02:44 pm: Edit|
Good suggestions, thanks. A number of the schools our son is looking at don't even require essays - definitely a plus, in his case!
|By MarshaP on Tuesday, November 06, 2001 - 07:01 pm: Edit|
Arrrghhhh!! Great to find this college discussion board! I thought I was the only one with a terminal procrastinator. He hasn't even visited many of the colleges he's interested in! I want to tell him that it's all up to him, if he doesn't get applications in, too bad. At the same time, I hate to see him screw up a lifetime decision!
|By Dadster on Monday, December 03, 2001 - 07:35 pm: Edit|
How's that procrastinator doing, Puzzled? Has he started yet?
|By Puzzled on Friday, December 14, 2001 - 08:22 pm: Edit|
Not doing too badly, Dadster. Only one app left, and it has a February due date. Whew!
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Saturday, December 15, 2001 - 04:25 am: Edit|
Do you want us to email your son a reminder on January 31st?
|By Dadster on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 08:24 am: Edit|
Glad to hear it's working out. It's funny how deadlines can sharpen the focus of even the worst procrastinator! Maybe he'll get that February app out over the Christmas break and give you a heart attack! Good luck!
|By Dave Berry on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 09:57 am: Edit|
According to Myers-Briggs personality theory, those who do their best work under deadline pressure are also those who are the most flexible and accepting about changes in local circumstances. They tend to be more laid back and low key. Maybe Puzzled's son is one of these so-called "P" types. The conflict happens when the parent is a "J" type (highly planned, structured, and orderly) and the child is a "P." I'm a huge J, which is a definite handicap when dealing with those who are not motivated to follow-up or pay a lot of attention to small schedule details.
If you want a greater insight into how to understand the differences among personality preferences, read a great little book: Please Understand Me. It could change the way you think about others, especially your children.
|By California Mom (Calmom) on Monday, December 17, 2001 - 04:55 pm: Edit|
That's a good point, Dave. My son got interested in Myers Briggs testing last spring, and we all took at-home tests on the internent. Both my son and I are INTP's, which explains a LOT.
My daughter is an ESFJ -- just the opposite.
Here are some good internet resources for those who don't have a clue as to what we are talking about:
Quick Personality Test:
Student Learning and Myers-Briggs
(An EXCELLENT look as to how styles effect learning style):
Jung/Myers-Briggs online test
By the way, one thing we learned from the "Student Learning" article above is that for the second criteria (Sensing vs. iNtuitive), while the majority of undergraduates are S-types (more detail oriented), "83% of national merit scholarship finalists and 92% of Rhodes Scholars were intuitive students".
Anyway, I know this post can't possibly make sense to anyone unfamiliar with Myers-Briggs testing, but it really is worth learning about.
|By Dave Berry on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 01:45 pm: Edit|
We have a lot in common, Calmom. My son's an INTP Rationale and my daughter is an ESFJ Guardian. I'm an INFJ Idealist and my wife is an ISFJ Guardian.
A sports-nut friend of mine once asked me if he might be an ESPN.
|By Puzzled on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:15 pm: Edit|
Thanks for the book recommendation, Dave. Maybe if I can assign a 4 letter code to my son's state of mind I won't worry as much.
|By Dave Berry on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:35 pm: Edit|
How about "LATE"? (Just kidding.)
|By Domer97 on Sunday, December 23, 2001 - 10:39 am: Edit|
I think that people can be broken down into two types. Those who divide people into categories, and those who don't.
|By Mommabear on Thursday, March 14, 2002 - 10:47 am: Edit|
Any "visit procrastinators" out there? My son still has two colleges that he's applied to but hasn't visited yet. Between school and his outside activities, he's really busy. I'm worried, though, that he's going to be in a crunch when he has to make a decision.
|By Dadster on Tuesday, March 19, 2002 - 09:06 pm: Edit|
We got caught in a visit crunch after waiting on some distant schools until after acceptance. Better start making some travel plans now - we missed some of the cheaper deals because we were waiting to hear from one school that was tardy in deciding.
|By pval on Saturday, June 22, 2002 - 04:36 am: Edit|
Help! My son is 20 years old and in his second year of college. He was never an excellent student in school, making just under a 3point. This guy is a really sweet and wonderful guy--he's never done anything to cause problems at home---always even keeled, logical... but last year in the middle of spring term, he had some major health problems, legitimately missed alot of school, and he failed Calculus and Physics.
Since then he's failed calculus a second time, retook it a third time, barely scraping by. I just found out he made a "D" on his accounting grade!
He is now on academic probation! I'm shocked at what is happening. His dad and I have talked to him about spending more time studying, but it doesn't seem to be helping. Does anyone have any ideas on how we might help to motivate him? (his brother just graduated with a BS and is going for his masters) We'll do anything!
|By Dadster on Saturday, June 22, 2002 - 02:37 pm: Edit|
Hi, pval. Usually the kind of thing you describe seems to occur freshman year... I guess I'd try to find out more about what the problem is - lack of motivation, lots of partying, unhappiness with his major, bad friends, etc. If you can close in on the reason, the solution may become apparent.
I have known several sets of parents who confronted somewhat similar problems by bringing the kid home to a local college, or threatening to do that if things didn't improve. As I recall, results were mixed... at least one shaped up and improved his academics, though. At least if your son is close by, you might get a handle on what his problem is. Good luck!
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