NOTE to Bookworm by Email subscribers. I reformatted this post so that all of Ms. Jone's notes are available here, without downloading a Word document. Hope that makes reading a bit easier! If you want to become a Bookworm by Email subscriber, see the box on the upper left. You will get an email every time there is a new Bookworm post. janet
Now to the topic!
Thanks to friend and colleague Judy Chase who went to hear Marilee Jones, MIT Admissions Director, speak at Overlake School on November 14th. Ms. Jones is also the author of Less Stress, More Success: A new approach to guiding your teen through college admissions and beyond.
The following are Judy's personal notes:
"I was a few minutes late, so the notes start from when I arrived. It is amazing to me how many themes she spoke of that echo Alexandra Robbins perspectives.
She began talking about characteristics from different generations and what that means in terms of the lens that we look at when considering situations.
Matures: Born prior to 1945. Honor, integrity, hard work ethic, many first generations who made a way for themselves, loyal and patriotic.
Baby Boomers: Born after WWII until 1964. Idealistic and Individualistic. We live vicariously through our children. We want to protect our kids and take care of them. We think our kids think and are like us when they are not. We are self centered and oriented around “us”.
Generation X: This is a very small subset of the population. Born between 1965-1978. They grew up when times were recessionary; AIDs became rampant, high divorce rates and left home alone a lot. They are pragmatic, comfortable on the internet, diversity and entrepreneurial. They don’t like fuss; want to get their work done so they can play. Quality of life is most important. Gen Xer’s are great out of the box thinkers, value diversity and very resilient.
post 1979. Influenced by Columbine,
9/11, WTC. She describes them as neotraditional, ritual, optimistic,
technological, adept, heavy volunteerism, very busy lifestyles, and
multicultural, busy 24/7. These kids are
group centered (having more likely been in daycare) they lead or follow, highly
structured, over scrutinized, can’t breath, very hardworking. They like to make adults (baby boomers) happy
and do a lot of their activities to “please” the adults. She says that the group is very anxious,
sleep deprived, judged and tested (and tested and tested), poorly nourished
(eat on the run). They sustain academic pressure, social pressure, carrying the
family honor. She calls them “Human
Doings vs. Human Beings”.
Today’s kids are Millennials.
Here are some of the general characteristics of Millennials. Our kids are social at night, via IM, text messaging. They can’t sleep before 11:30pm and often go to sleep even later. We hold them up to community inspection by “honoring high achievers in the paper, and at school”. Because of high parental involvement, they are over criticized and often feel that their accomplishments are “not good enough”. They are angry at their parents for over pushing towards perfection. There is an epidemic impact on girls’ sense of self esteem and body image.
The kids’ hyper sports involvement has resulted in an increase in asthma and sports injuries. Stomach aches and headaches are more likely as well. These are all stress related illnesses.
Marilee stresses that the kids/parents should focus on THE MATCH with a particular college. This is how well they will fit with the college culture, activities, and academics. The best fit for the student is important. Parents and students should not try to change the student to fit a school but find the school that fits the student. Admissions officers want to know if you know WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU ARE GOOD AT.
Typical Problems Marilee Jones encounters:
Problem #1: We are raising a generation of kids who are trained to please adults, teachers, parents, coaches, admissions officers. These kids look to the outside for affirmation and do not look internally. This should be internal; they should be reading their inner voice. Who am I? What do I think?
Problem #2: Kids are great at working together on
projects but don’t seem to be as individually creative. They do not have downtime to get into their
imaginations. Where are the
Problem #3: The collective pressure makes kids break."
"Boomers are hypersensitive to issues of competition. Boomers don’t trust authority but trust experts (as defined by who we pay), boomers live vicariously through their kids. Parents are managers, often self made, have high levels of initiative, live by our own rules and are very busy. College admission is a rite of passage and a sacred experience that kids need to experience in order to grow up. Initiation is a hard road and a process that takes time, self-examination and has an element of fear/anxiety to it.
Parent’s Guiding Principles for the college application process:
1. Manage your anxiety/grief. Become the shoreline! Kids are the boats and they will come back to shore to get re-centered and navigate against the shore which holds steady and never changes.
2. Behave as if you are going to your child’s game performance. Stay behind the white line. (Support, support, support, do not instruct/criticize).
3. Don’t make it about you by saying “WE”
a. Don’t be the one to ask the questions on campus (let your child speak on the tours—you keep quiet.)
b. don’t read your kid’s mail
c. don’t choose for them
d. don’t write/edit their applications
4. Set some ground rules in advance
5. Excellence, not perfection, is the goal (encourage their internal guidance system)
6. Encourage 45 minutes a day of free time (when they can do anything they love)
7. Teach Street smarts, how to rebound, how to fail well and how/when to quit
8. Help manage timelines and deadlines
9. Stop talking and watch your child’s face—it’s about listening
10. Insist on integrity
11. Encourage your kids to get 8+ hours of sleep a night and 3 solid meals a day.
12. No technology in the bedroom
a. Kids use cell phones to text message late into the night
b. Kids get on IM late into the night (they don’t want to miss out on anything)
c. If homework is done in bed where do they go to relax, sleep or clear their minds.
d. When kids have trouble sleeping they use the technology in their room to keep in touch vs. finding a way to let go and relax.
13. Don’t do the kid’s work (or applications!)
14.. No admissions advice from friends
15. Don’t disrespect young admissions officers (by ignoring them, or condescending to them because they look so “young”).
16. Model for your child good behavior and standards.
Student’s Guiding Principles
1. Drop extra activities. It is not about quantity but passion and doing a few things well.
2. Foster your imagination and intuition.
3. Have an open mind about the future (don’t set hopes on the one perfect school).
4. Look for the best match to your interests not the “reputation” of the school as offered by magazine rankings. (Ms Jones mirrored Alexandra Robbins comments on this entirely).
5. Hold on to your privacy. Do not share scores, grades etc.
6. Honor yourself and your needs.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others—everyone has entirely unique DNA
8. Self advocate and don’t self criticize, when discussing mistakes or poor grades, discuss how you learned from them.
9. Don’t take college admissions advice from your friends.
WORD OF WARNING
RELATING TO ALL OF THIS ADVICE:
One footnote to add to the discussion is about My Space or Facebook. Admissions offices are now looking up and reading what students talk about. They use this as part of the application process by checking out individual applicant websites. Even if you think your account is private it probably is not private. Students should be very careful with information that is posted. This holds for job seekers as well!"
To print or save a Word document of these notes Download notes_from_marilee_jones.doc