Visiting the Other Boards

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Visiting the Other Boards
By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:00 pm: Edit

Do most of you periodically look at the other boards? I do on occasion, but I sometimes find them very discomforting...for example the threads like "MIT '08 Post your Stats" really rubbed me the wrong way. But, also, especially now the Ivy boards or where kids are commenting on each others' chances.

I think the parent forum is great for getting a reality check on what it takes to get into that certain tier of schools. Do kids really feel validated, encouraged or discouraged by the comments of random posters on those other boards? It occurs to me that anyone clever enough to have a 4.5 and 1570 should realize the pitfalls of that situation... Some of the kids touting these unbelievable statistics and acheivements just seem so.....well, some of them seem full of themselves but many of them seem so clueless!

I don't get it!

In short, some of these boards also seem filled with such unpleasant kids, I would hate to think of my sons going to school with them!

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Robyrm, I was looking at college search and selection, and college admissions, subsets, for a long time before I even knew there was a parents' forum! I started asking questions there, for example about distinctions between several different liberal arts colleges, or even kind of trivial things like using Adobe acrobat for filling in applications, and learned so much. I don't remember which names answered my questions, but the answers were wonderful. I think it was a mix of kids and parents and they all really helped me.

Now, I don't have those types of questions any more (for the moment, anyway), so I just look at the Parents Forum, and once in a while at the individual school for my S, but then generally don't look at the posts where the kids are listing their stats.

Sometimes I count the number of posters who are actually answering a message thread. Usually it is slightly more than a handful. So maybe there are a handful of kids, in your example, who seem ultra-competitive or anxious. But it's such a tiny, tiny subset of the kids who are applying and probably a skewed subset at that.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:27 pm: Edit

Patient, I do agree there are some very helpful and wonderful kids on the other forums.

But I have also observed exactly what Roby has on SOME posts, particularly the "what are my chances" type of posts or some of the more elite college oriented posts (such as debating which college is better?). When I first found this forum and showed it to my D (who does not have the time or inclination to participate), she could not identify AT ALL with that certain type of post that Roby is mentioning above. These posts were so UNLIKE her. And yes, you have to wonder, your kid is going to go to college with some that have that kind of attitude. But I know these kids do not represent the greater whole. It certainly has opened my eyes to a certain kind of competitive attitude or not sure just how to put it. I only know that there are certain posts/attitudes/discussions on the kid forums that are so very different than my own kid would ever participate on or write. I cannot imagine her posting her "stats" and asking her chances, for instance. Or commenting on others' as well.

But as Patient says, there are some great threads on the other forums that have some wonderful students on them and some very helpful people, including many parents from this forum.

For me, the 27 part musical theater thread on "search and selection" forum is one of the most valuable resources on this topic/field anywhere!


By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, September 02, 2004 - 11:43 pm: Edit

But again, it is such a teensy tiny minority of any applicant pool. You're always going to get the nervous or nasty ones sprinkled in here or there. I would sure never pick a college based upon the tenor of posts on a place like this, if that is what you are suggesting.

BTW, I remember how sad it was to see those kids who might have seemed sure of themselves, with great stats, when the admissions results came in. For the competitive schools, some were in but more were not, and it was painful to read their sadness. I thought well of them for being able to express their pain and be humble enough here to admit that they hadn't gotten in...and then to see them cheer themselves up and refocus their energies.

By Bookworm (Bookworm) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:21 am: Edit

I do the same as you. What's distressing (now that S is on other side of rainbow) is number of kids with scores too low for HYPSMC, and no special passion, asking 'what r my chances?'Then, many say there essay will be great, and what they post need major editing. I'm always amazed how patient Alexandre, Collegeparent, Carolyn, Jamimom, Sooz, and others are with suggesting more appropriate schools. Some kids are too optomistic, and I worry the prospective student will apply to many of the best, when little likelihood will get in.I wish they would focus more on true reach/match schools, and explore the plethora of available schools that would truly suit them. I think the blunt kids are doing others a real favor, whether evaluating an essay or chances based on scores & ECs. I think this board serves the purpose of what a GC should be, & often isn't. (Mine was told to go to honors college at state school, then apply to better school.)

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

I've tried to offer advice on occasion, but they don't want to hear it.

My advice is for EVERY kid to build their college list pretending that HYPSM do not exist.

Then, and only then, ADD one or more of those as a reach if the stats are there AND there is an identifiable "extra".

The super-high yield numbers at HYPSM make the acceptance rate so low that you simply can't make statistical "rational" predictions.

There's a lot of undue pressure put on some kids -- some it self-induced, some school-induced, some parent-induced.

By Robyrm (Robyrm) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 12:47 am: Edit

Well, I guess I agree with all of you. There are certainly some very specific, helpful interesting threads. I agree, that the patience and knowledge of some respondents is unbelievable.

I guess I really don't like the idea that kids introduce themselves to potential classmates via statistics (as opposed to geeky pictures in Freshman Handbooks!)...It is ...distasteful (for lack of a better word) to me.

Some responders are meanspirited or dismissive, and I worry about an anxious kid feeling very pressured by parents who submits a hopeful posting and then gets slammed...It is all so decontextualized, impersonal, etc.

Here's an idea. Everyone who signs up for the board has to first show they have read (and then are tested on to show understanding!) a document that outlines the "basics of good college admissions" written by some of the wonderful people who repeat themselves over and over answering questions! Anyone who still wants information or to discuss topics gets "in"...but hopefully they know enough to not ask questions that others will blast them for.

Doesn't do much for the stats mongers, but at least some of the others will get the info they need upfront!

By Patient (Patient) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 01:05 am: Edit

Lots of different points here: kids being misdirected, kids being too "out there" with their stats, unqualified people offering advice, and also some people with barely-concealed axes to grind (anyone remember the guy who would always come on and slam Stanford, when it eventually turned out his son was applying??)

I do feel for the kids who don't have anywhere else to go for advice, and who may be misled by posters who are not like our wonderful Carolyn--who I agree should really get a medal for how much she has contributed to this site. I guess the best to hope for is that enough people are trolling the sites, that they may catch a lot of these and correct misimpressions.

As for the ones who post their stats in a less than diplomatic way?--ah well, what goes around comes around, they really are old enough to take responsibility for the impressions they are making.

By Achat (Achat) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 07:57 am: Edit

I think visiting the other boards made me very nervous. CC and Parents Forum has been a great help to our family and I've learned a lot without being over-anxious about it. Especially useful to me are opinions of generous parents who regularly post here.

By Blossom (Blossom) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 08:16 am: Edit

The "Can I get in " threads are helpful as a reality check. It's very easy to assume that your all A's tennis playing kid who spends a few hours a week visiting the elderly in a Nursing Home, and whose AP English teacher says is God's gift to literature is a shoe-in anywhere with a 1500 SAT, especially if your GC is clueless. It's good to read about the kids finding a cure for cancer and composing symphonies and getting patents, along with stellar academics and all the rest, simply because it sensitizes you to what's really out there. I'm always amazed by people you overhear at the grocery store complaining about a neighbor or a nephew who was rejected by Penn, since afterall, "He's our valedictorian!". People seem to forget that this is a big country... and a lot of talent.

By Garland (Garland) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:13 am: Edit

My take is, you know, they're kids, many with much less direction than ours have. Some don't present themselves as well as they should, but they also learn from people's reactions. Some are mean-spirited, and you learn to avoid them. I tend to empathize with the anxiety of most of these kids, and though I don't generally read the "CAn I get in" threads, I don't find them "unseemly". And they often get good advice. I have gotten lots of good information from the first two forums, and learned to filter what is not useful. I really like college age kids in general (I work at a college) and I believe if you knew most of the posters here, you'd find they're really not a different breed from the ones you know.

After all, my D thinks there's something a little off about parents who post here (including her mom), so I'd feel a little pot calling the kettle black if I start getting too huffy about the kids!

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:25 am: Edit

I echo Interesteddad's post and Achat's last post. If I could say anything to the kids on the "what are my chances?" posts it would be that there are no guarantees. There are kids at the IVY's and Stanford with lower grades and SAT's than my son. Does it make them less and son more? NO!!! Was son cheated? No!!! He ended up in the school that fits him, which is truly a blessing. The nature of admissions in this day and age is that there are no guarantees. I am glad that I found CC and the parent's forum because it put all of that into perspective for me. Rather than feeling like we were put through the ringer and were victims of the system, I now feel wiser and understand the system better. I think perhaps the greatest gift that this forum has given me is exposure to schools in other parts of the country that I did not have much knowledge about. Talk about broadening horizens!

Yes, I do think that kids on the other posts can seem spoiled, jaded, and mad-at-the-world mean - not to mention disrespectful. I just figure their day of reckoning is to come. I then read posts from kids like Xiggi and know that all is not lost.

By Youngmom (Youngmom) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 09:36 am: Edit

What is discomforting to me is the threads under "College Life". I was not snooping, but the homesickness thread caught my attention and ended up reading others. Now that I have dropped off my DS, I was disturbed to read about drinking and Sex going on in the very first week of their moving in. Kind of makes me wonder if we did the right thing sending him so far away.

By Thedad (Thedad) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 10:10 am: Edit

If it's any consolation, the drinking and sex possibilities would be the same if your S/D were 10 minutes away. What happens (or doesn't) is the confluence of two factors: a) your kid and b) the atmosphere at the particular college.

By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:17 am: Edit

Youngmom, I have been horrified at times to hear of the extent to which the same goes on in my kids' HS. Given that it does, I'm not shocked that the kids already partaking in HS are ready to jump right in at college, and I totally agree with Thedad. After all, for some of these kids, it was going on while they were living at home. You'll just have to trust in your DS's ability to make good decisions.

By Momz (Momz) on Friday, September 03, 2004 - 11:26 am: Edit

I only discovered CC after my D had already gone through the application process etc. When I mentioned it to my D. she said she knew the site but did not care for it. Felt the kids posting were all over achievers, over anxious, etc.(I know generalizing) D's dream was Princeton, 4.6 GPA, 1560 SATs etc. did not get in. Reading of other getting in bummed her out I guess. D did get in at DUKE,& Cornell, but not first choice. Ended up going to Berkeley but decision was also made due to costs. I admit I really enjoy this site and wish I had discovered it earlier. Oh well D#2 is now HS senior so I'll use it with her.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:54 am: Edit

The admitted student stats are very useful for bringing dreamers down to earth, me included, so I'd hate to slam them. Besides, we parents manage to get in our bragging rights, LOL. We're marginally at masking our smugness? I can tell you my mother would croak sooner than read this forum. It would constitute just so much navel gazing for that generation, wouldn't it??

Anyway, I rarely troll the other boards because I don't want to interfere. But Lord! Those kids are hard on each other.

As far as my S mixing with all the so and sos and doing such and such...he's so happy to be in a big diverse school--he's ready to burst. I put some fine thinking into that boy. Hopefully, he can sort things out for himself.

At least he hasn't lost another credit card...yet!

By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 08:40 am: Edit

Love that phrase:
"I put some fine thinking into that boy. "

I hope I did that too!

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 04:25 pm: Edit

I only discovered CC after S's applications had been filed. However, the financial aid board proved useful for some time therafter, as did the admissions board.

Now I spend most of my time at CC (probably too much of my time) here on the Parents' Board, with some checking of Twinkle's Life threads and College Life for some insight on that, and a lttle time trying to find somebody other than posters with SATs and GPAs in the near-stratosphere whose threads read "I really suck - can I still get into Harvard?" - i.e. those who can benefit from my propensity for giving unsolicited advice, where I think I know something or can prevent somene from going way off on (what I think is) the wrong track. [My current propensity seems to have become advising students who want to show their individuality to do it in some other way than by handwritng their applications].

As Interesteddad wrote, some students don't want to take advice. To those who ask a question, then argue with the answer, as the Greeks say, "Vre dounia".

I don't think it's fair for me to try to judge a teenager on the basis of one or two posts, so I try not to; people posting on boards may in reality be quite different from the way they sound. Probably most of them are good kids who tend to get overexcited about posting. In a few cases, though, I form a not-so-positive opinion of a poster [no names!] based on my reaction to a number of posts - but then I try to keep it to myself.

It's been an eye-opener to learn about the crapshoot that is the application process at the Ivies and their ilk, about people's thoughts on the "merit aid" questions, and to read Admissionsrep's inside view of some of the admissions process, for instance.

Would love to throw my 2 cents into some of the philosphical discussions but have barely enough time to read them, least of all type seemingly intelligent comments.

By Csbballstardad (Csbballstardad) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 05:23 pm: Edit

Don't go over to CC Cafe'. That is a strange group. Their topics range from banal, to misogynistic, to racist, to vulgar and the only common feature is ignorance.

By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit

csbballstardad: I go there once in a blue moon; I think the last time I posted was to exchange friendly barbs with TheDad about age. It's really not for us parents, and we're probably better off being ignorant of its contents.

By Celebrian23 (Celebrian23) on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

As a high schooler, this is the only truly helpful board, I find when I ask a question on other boards people give very contrasting answers while I think parents are more likely to type facts, not opinions. Also, your posts are almost always longer and more fulfilling and detailed, if i ask if i can send in supplementary recs, you're going to give me every possible detail, while other students barely answer my question at all, when I have a serious question, I always ask here first, and if no one answers then I'll go to the more high school oriented boards

By Tabby (Tabby) on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 01:04 am: Edit

It's always enlightening to read this board. I enjoy hearing about colleges other than LSU lol . Seriously, it's taught me a lot. But no one else in my household has any interest in it. My S can hardly remember what he made on his SAT! He is very laid-back and so it's hard for me to relate to the zealousness of some of the young posters. But many of them, like celebrain23 above, just sound like very focused, high-achieving students who enjoy the give and take of information.

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