Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Flight Plan for Helicopter Parents - Be a Cosmetic and Content Consultant

3. Be both a "cosmetic consultant" and "content consultant" on applications.

Examples of cosmetic consultant: grammar, punctuation, spelling, family information [employment, job title, email, name and year of college] on the application, etc. 

I have found that our texting, Twitter, and Facebook generation tends to slip into those modes of writing on applications. 

I can't tell you how many times I've had to "touch up" acme on the face of an application that is peppered with i's and u's.

Examples of content consultant: the overarching goal in revealing a student (not packaging) involves what I call the "framework work" in the application: this framework work involves narration (telling the student's story well), synthesis (connecting-the-dots of major themes, points of excellence, salient traits), and distinction (elevating that student from the pack; revealing points of excellence). 

 This is never an easy task. 

And no student (or counselor) can create this framework without the parent's insights.

So what I encourage parents to do is help identify the major "spheres" of their child's life, and then help the student and counselor identify "narrative moments" that have a colorful "word picture" within that moment that we narrate. 

Winston Churchill once said, "The ear is 1/10th the organ of the eye." 

College admissions need more than reasons to accept a student. 

They need visions

We want to connect then not only with the admission officer's mind, but their imaginations

Too often we forget that the mind is not so much a debating hall as it is a picture gallery

So help think of key images, frozen "action moments", and metaphors that the student and counselor can pull into their essays, interviews, rec letters, etc.