Thursday

How I'm Sending My Baby Off to College





Quinn and his friends are just about to leave the nest. They're all going to be headed off to fantastic math nerd colleges very soon. It's been an amazing thing to watch these kids turn into adults. Through math boot camps, UIL competitions, National Honor Society, non-profit junior boards, standardized tests, presentations, papers, and grades they've grown into responsible human beings.

With the help of a few people. Ok, very few people. Really, these kids are kinda self-sufficient. But, because they are very smart, they readily recognize when something is out of their realm, and are quick to ask an expert for help.



It Takes a Village to Get Rid of a Kid
There have been dedicated parents, friends, teachers, mentors and neighbors who have helped Quinn and his friends along the way. This year, their senior year, the kids are tackling a huge project that to me seems really daunting – applying to top tier colleges in hopes of getting a full scholarship.

They do this in their spare time, after their Nuclear Physics homework (Not kidding. Nuclear Physics.) and all their volunteer work. It's so exciting to hear where each one is planning on applying, and what they'll study, and what their career plan is. Quinn's high school – The Science & Engineering Magnet at Townview – is always among the top ten public high schools in America, on the Newsweek and US News & World Report best school lists. This year they even made the Daily Beast list of Top High Schools Doing The Most With The Least.

These kids are heavily recruited by the Ivy League, and every top tier math and science university in America. They are probably some of the brightest and most motivated kids in the nation. And this is a public school y'all, a good number of them do not have resources. Many of them will be the first one in their family to go to college. Many have parents who don't speak English.

The School Counselor of his public high school, Ms Kashyap, has helped Quinn (and me) the most with this enormous task of applying to colleges. That lady knows so much, and every year handles getting about 100 kids (most of whom are on the free lunch program) into top tier colleges pretty much single-handedly. Without her experience and dedication, their wouldn't be a Gates Millennium Scholarship winner every year from Quinn's school. Or kids at MIT and Stanford on full-ride.



Getting Quinn off to College
Just this week, Quinn found out he was accepted into the Columbia University (in NYC) fly-in program. Basically, they pay to bring him to Columbia for a weekend, and VIP him to try to convince him to pick their college. I thought colleges only did that for football players!

He has nine colleges that he is applying for on his big white board in his room. The board is gridded off into squares, with checklists of each thing he needs to do for each college application. How he has organized all this information and is just handling it all himself just amazes me!

All I do is provide a credit card for sending test scores, or sending in applications.

He is applying to: Stanford, USC, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Northeastern, Columbia, NYU, and UT Austin (his "safety school" because if you're in the top 10% of your graduating class you are automatically accepted).

I don't think the boy needs a safety school though. He has a perfect ACT score. Ms Kashyap came thru again last spring getting all the kids signed up for the SAT, the ACT, AP tests, SAT subject matter tests...whatever each one needed based on their desired college career path. She's a college genius I tell you. And she teaches them how to take care of their own business, asking for help when they need it.

So, Ms Kashyap, here's to you and the confidence you give to our kids to ensure they all have a positive outcome to their college application process.

My Best Parenting Advice
Teach your child to be independent and handle their own business at an early age. I stopped looking over Quinn's homework in third grade, apres long-division. So he became responsible for getting it done, and getting it done right. Turning it in. Time management is the skill to teach them. Breaking big things into small parts. Keeping a calendar. Marking things off a to-do list. We can't just assume they'll know how to do those things, we have to teach them. Then, they have the foundation to take responsibility for setting and reaching their goals on their own. Or, know when to ask an expert for advice.



State Farm is the kind sponsor of this blog this month, and of this conversation. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. You can find State Farm on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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