Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday? Again?

For all of you who mentioned that you wouldn't be foolish enough to try to collaborate on things like FAFSA or taxes with your spouse, I agree - it is foolish. Our system has always been that I do the taxes - it has worked well for us for almost 20 years. Larry volunteered to do the FAFSA because, well, I'm doing the taxes. Unfortunately, there are points at which the 2 intersect. I could volunteer to do both, but we would still have to collaborate, as Larry has the non-tax financial numbers required by this fiendish form.

Any social scientists out there wondering why many marriages tend to fall apart at the 20-year mark? I think I've got your answer.

Speaking of which, a very pleasant-looking gentleman in his mid- to late-sixties came to the register the other evening to buy a book: How To Get A Divorce Without Ruining Your Life.

Hello? How about the other person's life? Did his wife know already what he was planning? I felt complicit in wrongdoing just by ringing up the purchase. I would have felt better if he had looked distraught and/or wracked by anguish as he placed the book on the counter, but this guy looked pretty darn pleased with himself, actually. Creep.

Maybe I shouldn't take these purchases so personally...


Theo has been procrastinating on his last few college applications (and, oh, have I mentioned how much I hate these things? No? Don't worry, I will). Larry and I, not wanting to have to set aside next Sunday to proofread essays for an annoyed teen who doesn't understand why we are interfering with his life and checking his applications, decided to set deadlines for each application to be handed to us for proofreading. This news, of course, was not well received by the teen formerly known as easygoing and compliant.

Yesterday was the first deadline, and we were relieved to see Theo hard at work at the computer. Late in the afternoon, however, we found him wandering around the kitchen. "Where's the application?" I demanded.

"Which application?" he asked.

"The one that was due today. We need to proofread it."

"Oh, I sent it in already."

Well, he showed us who's in charge, didn't he? I can't wait until he's sitting around here all next year going to community college - every time he complains, I will remind him of the importance of having an editor.


Those of you who think parents should not be involved at all in the college application process? I thought the same thing a few months ago. Believe me, I wish that were true. My parents never even saw mine.

But it's a different world today. Check out some of these websites, hey? Letting your kids send off those applications while every other kid's apps are being proofread by their parents or even professionals is tantamount to idiocy. It's also tantamount to throwing your 60-dollar application fee in the toilet.

When in Rome...


I think I'm done complaining now. Really. And it's time to go wash some more dishes...


  1. Having just spent an entire weekend with two sisters-in-law who have freshmen in college, I am starting to seriously take notes on the entire college application process. We just registered our oldest for high school, but we've found ourselves already talking about colleges. Yikes.

    But I have to say, I think Theo was smart...the college is going to see his application as the real thing and not a professional's work. I think it might work in his favor.

  2. I have to respectfully disagree with Bia's comment.

    I was Assistant Director of Admission at a highly-selective liberal arts college in my life prior to stay-at-home-motherhood.

    I can't tell you the number of unedited applications that crossed my desk and went into the "No Way" pile.

    If a teenager can't be bothered to proofread, then they aren't going to be successful at a tough school. And bottomline, that's what Admissions professionals are trying to determine, "Can this person be successful here?"

    Obviously, an application that smacked of having been put together by someone other than the student also went into the "No Way" pile, but some editing? ALWAYS a good thing.

  3. I am soooooo glad to be past all that. I feel your pain!

  4. I rather agree--I never had any help, but now? Now kids have SO much help and involvement from adults. It's crazy.

    And I'd have judged a person's purchase of a book like that, too.

  5. Crap. If my daughter is a junior, does that mean we should be thinking about this college thing? I know she's going...somewhere, but it all seems so expensive and time-consuming. Considering today's economy and all, is there really anything wrong with starting out at a community college, and then transfering? I so do not want to do this...I like living in denial, I think.

  6. Shelley - you are correct - attending community college and then transferring is the best idea. That was our plan for all our kids, especially as, with a 3.4 average, they would be guaranteed admission to some very good state universities.

    My son, however, wants to get the heck out of Dodge immediately, not 2 years from now; so he is applying to ROTC scholarship programs, etc. I'll give him credit and say that he took a lot of initiative and researched everything himself and has done most of the college application work himself. It's just this bit at the end that seems to be a problem - mostly because he doesn't want us interfering.

    So that teen independence thing? Can be a 2-edged sword - good in some ways, bad in others...

  7. I would definitely advise against wallpapering a bathroom together--especially if you've recently collaborated on the FAFSA.

  8. So where is he applying that you only have to pay $60 to apply? I wish my kids had applied there!

  9. It's such a drag when your parents want to set you up to succeed in life....


  10. I thought my high school son should have been doing his college apps on his own too, until I had to drive him at 11:59 at night to the post office so he could get his application in on time!
    To Shelley - if your daughter is a junior then YES you should absolutely be checking out colleges NOW. Don't be to the guidance counselor at the school and they'll help you. My kids' school had a FAFSA night that explained everything....the best meeting I ever went to.

  11. I still have ALL this to look forward to X 3.

  12. We all need an editor for sure.

    You really can buy a book about anything.

  13. I used to work in admissions...and doing a PhD, I've been through the process so many times. It is terrible and harrowing and really, probably harder than the actual degree.

    The truth? Its a crap shoot. Schools use all sorts of random processes and piles and second tier piles. Some schools don't look at the essay unless its a borderline app. Other schools look at it first. Some schools even use a pantyhose type chart with scores and race and other random numbers to determine if you are in the black or the gray. I'm not kidding.

    I'm just sending my sympathies, and tearing out my hair as I try to do my FAFSA despite foreign earned income and the stack of undergraduate exams next to me on the desk.

  14. *running away with her fingers in her ears shouting "LALALALA I don't want to hear about this!" I'm going to have 3 in college at the same time too. I'm trying not to think about it.

    I did my application the night before it was due. Parents read, but didn't edit it. I got in. (Stanford).

    Dumb luck, if you ask me.

  15. could be worse. You could have a kid that you're not certain will even graduate HS until the day before commencement, so absolutely no college applications went out. Then you frantically spend the next week getting that done because that's when the deadline for the college of choice falls. Then, the week before school starts find out the college lost the application, including the ACT scores, so you have to have the scores expedited to the college (for a fee, of course) so they will let said kid register for classes. Then you can jump through hoops to get those classes registered because the college's computer system is down. Finally, you rush to get the books bought because the bookstore is due to close in less than an hour, pay the tuition for the first semester because (of kid's uncertain HS graduation) you couldn't apply for any student loans (kid doesn't qualify for financial aid).

    After all this...ALL THIS...said kid drops out of school after a measly three weeks. Bye bye, thousands of dollars, countless hours...and any future help from parents for same kid's future.

    Time to focus on second kid.

  16. My good news is that my super intelligent 15 year old won't have to worry about college applications if he continues on the path he is going. No colleges want sub-standard slackers -no matter how smart they are and how high they test. He would be lucky to get into community college. (Insert me smacking my head against a brick wall)

  17. Oh, the Australian system actually does have some advantages! No $ to apply, No individual applications. Doing Photography I was in one of the few areas that needed a seperate application rather than the QTAC application (one form - put on your choices of uni and courses in order of preference and they base it all on your school grades and OP score). I would have died if I had to do it your way!

  18. Another reason I'm grateful Shortman's choices did not involve essays. ;-)

    And yes, they're State universities with all of the appropriate accreditations. Of course, he's majoring in social sciences so he'll have plenty of chances to show everyone he can't write.

  19. My oldest got accepted to the community college for next fall. If only I knew where the taxes were from last year for the blasted financial aid form. Hubby saved all the info on a cd, then uninstalled the program from his server to save space on the hard drive. It would be easier for me to complete this years taxes than to find last years taxes for the information.

  20. Try explaining to a young woman the late charges on her video rental account when it is for, ahem, that kind of movie. And why she can't rent anything until said video is returned along with said fines.

    Poor lady turns all kinds of colors and you realize you have just given her news she had no inkling of.

  21. We have decided to just bribe the college the boys want to go to... A big fat check (that will bounce) is the ticket..

  22. I'm just amazed that you're STILL washing dishes! Good luck with that (and with the college app stuff too)!

  23. I don't think I could work at a bookstore because I couldn't refrain from saying things like, "Mitch Albom??? Please. Let me help you find a GOOD book." And "I will PAY you not to buy this Dr. Laura book. Truly. Go have a coffee on me and rethink your life."

  24. Amy stole my 16yo!! Wait, no she didn't...he's in the kitchen foraging for food again. Drat.
    Um, I think I'm in trouble. 17yo junior has not made any decisions about college apps! I'm still trying to get him to bring home info on the SAT.

    I'm going to stick my head in the snow and have a cup of tea.

    (I suppose you can't make up a bookmark to slip in with purchases? Something along the lines with "Your purchase concerns me. Go see a counselor.")