My daughter has decided completely, 100% on her own that she wants to apply to the most competitive prep school in our area for next year. She says she wants to "have more opportunities" (she currently attends a very nice, protestant parochial school).

So we already discovered we missed the priority application deadline, and now I am going to be scrambling to get her application completed ASAP. Then she has to do the testing.

It's fascinating to me how different siblings can be. My oldest - a 9th grader - is totally not competitive. He's not interested in traditional definitions of success. He is wickedly funny and clever, very cynical, loves jam bands, can quote Abbie Hoffman, plays a mean guitar, and just blew the lid off the PSAT. But grades? He doesn't care. Competitive sports? Forget it. I have no idea what he'll decide to do for college.

My daughter is very competitive. She wants to be the lead in the play, the horse show winner, editor of the school newspaper... At age 11, she is already thinking about how going to a better middle and high school will influence her chances of getting into a better college.


Smokey said...

Don't know what your 9th grader might want to do with his future, but if he's interested in higher education but in a non-traditional setting, check out the above link. My cousin went here and it's a college where students design their own curriculum and design their own degrees.
Something to consider if he's leaning towards higher ed but he's not interested in a traditional college atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

Reality will start to set in once your children start working their first jobs.

Anonymous said...

Reality will start to set in once your children start working their first jobs.

Then she will say, why did I care and how am I going to pay off this $50,000 loan.

Anonymous said...


My son, a singleton, is 10 but he sounds like your oldest. He was a conformist achiever/teacher pleaser until the middle of third grade. Now two years later he's "underperforming;" I'm having a hard time accepting this. Sigh. Was it a struggle for you, accepting his style/personality as a student? My son's father and I seem to getting through to our son about the rewards of getting good grades, instrinsic and practical, but it's an ongoing struggle. Thoughts appreciated.

Good luck with applying to prep school for Jane!


Laura said...

she sounds like my darling daughter #4. both our girls are the same age.
when mine was 9 she announced her intention to attend stanford.
at this rate i'll be working until i am 80. at least i know she might have the ability to take care of me. also it helps that she made her declaration so early on so we can try to plan...
of course we have one tuition we are paying now with two more coming up behind sooner rather than later.
like i said, i will be working until i am 80.
good luck to you daughter.

Leslie said...

My children are very similar. My middles one is super smart, super competitive, wants perfect grades, etc. The others who are old enough to tell about are very interested in certain things but achieving for its own sake doesn't seem to interest them. It's been a struggle for us to relate to this, as we were/are both much more like the middle one.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Laura, don't count on it.

You can mortgage everything you have to pay for that "thing" that you child wants, but don't wait around for the pay back, or a phone call every now and then, either.

Looking back, I would say, make them pay for it.

Indya said...

Sometimes it's easier to get into an elite college if you are top of your class at an inner city high school than a super-achiever at a fancy prep school. Colleges look for all kinds of diversity, and people who demonstrate intellectual talent and curiosity in the midst of less than perfect circumstances are a dream for admissions officers. And public schools don't charge tuition...