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Articles / Applying to College / Effect of 10th Grade Lunch Detention on College Acceptances

Oct. 15, 2017

Effect of 10th Grade Lunch Detention on College Acceptances

Question: My daughter is a 10th grader and she has been pulling lot of late nights because she has 2 APs this year. She is not used to having less sleep and so she is unable to get up in the mornings. As a result, she has been late to school quite a few times. In addition, she is quite social and she has been talking in the class. So her first period teacher gave her a lunch detention, sent us an email asking us to speak with her to focus more in class. In that email, she also copied her counselor. While I think I need not have to report this detention, will this impact my daughter's application? I am worried that the Counselor might give a negative feedback of my daughter. Please advise. Thanks!

This is not anything that you have to worry about unless your daughter's problems escalate. A minor infraction in 10th grade doesn't have to be reported to colleges nor is it going to evoke negative comments from a guidance counselor at college-recommendation time. BUT ... your daughter does need to avoid an ongoing pattern of tardiness and bad behavior. She should write to that first-period teacher now to apologize for her late arrivals and for her chattiness in class and promise that she will be more focused from now on. She should send her counselor a copy of this message as well. If she can sit anywhere she wants in the classroom, she should try to sit up front and away from friends. If she has an assigned seat that is conducive to distractions, she should ask her teacher to move her.


Meanwhile, you need to walk that fine line that separates pushing your daughter to achieve what she is capable of achieving from pushing her SO much that she is constantly anxious. Most teenagers don't like getting up in the morning, but if your daughter is repeatedly staying awake until the wee hours to complete her school work, you really need to reevaluate her schedule. Too many parents these days focus on “elite college" acceptance for their children, and they jeopardize their children's health in the process. Some students thrive on pressure and can handle a full slate of AP classes but others are miserable.

So your daughter's current situation might just be typical teen behavior as she adjusts to the more advanced classes in school, but it also might be a sign that she is heading for Stress City. Use good judgment and know when to push and when to back off ... although finding that balance can be one of the toughest parts of parenting.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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