Dear Tell All: My son is a senior at Memorial. He had a B average and a decent ACT score in the 20s. He's loved sports throughout high school and did many extracurricular activities in athletics. Everything was going fine until college-application madness started. Many of his friends had higher grades and test scores and applied to elite colleges. My son had no chance of getting into one of those and so aimed lower.
With colleges now sending out their admissions notices, I'm disgusted by all the crowing among his friends and their parents. If I hear one more neighbor brag about her kid's acceptance to Northwestern or Boston University, I'm going to scream.
Madison may pride itself on being a progressive, laid-back place, but make no mistake — getting your child into an exclusive school is a major status symbol here. It's the equivalent of someone tooling around town in a flashy Rolls Royce.
Can't people just tone down their bragging and spare those of us whose children are going to less prestigious schools?
UW-Oshkosh, Here We Come
Dear Here We Come: I notice that you don't mention how your son feels about his college choice. And it seems to me that his feelings are more important than yours in this situation. If he's content to go to UW-Oshkosh, then there's really no problem. If he wishes he could have gone to Northwestern or Boston University, then he can work hard next year and try to transfer. In my professional opinion, his life is not over.
Given that you've said nothing about his reaction, Here We Come, I'm guessing that you're more upset than he is. May I suggest an attitude adjustment? The only thing that gives your status-conscious neighbors power over you is your own feelings of envy.
If I were you, I'd focus on your son and forget about all those other kids headed to elite schools. Do everything you can to make sure he has a good first year in college. I'm here to tell you that a person can be as happy in Oshkosh as in Boston — believe it or not, even happier.
Write back during Christmas break and let us know how he did.
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