College Pete

Warning: This may make you sick

Warning: This may make you sick

The recent college admissions scandal continues to make headlines, but that’s not the only crazy story that has come out of this recent admissions cycle.

While celebrity actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman appeared in court last week and very well may face jail time, a story came out of Washington, DC regarding a prestigious prep school and the behavior (or misbehavior) of parents when it comes to college admissions. No bribery or standardized test scheming was at play (or at least none was identified), but the director of college counseling at Sidwell Friends School had to warn parents about misbehavior, specifically badmouthing students in an effort to damage their chances in college admissions – so that their own kids would have leg up in the highly competitive college admissions process.

This has gone way too far. Parents are tattling on other students to diminish their chances at admission? And this has been going on for how long?

I know it’s a competitive, dog-eat-dog world out there, but this story highlights so many things wrong with the state of college admissions today. Perhaps most significant is that parents need to step out of the way and let students take ownership of their own future.

It’s not enough to be a helicopter parent anymore, keeping a close watch on everything little missy does. Now parents are turning to bulldozer tactics, clearing out any and all obstacles, even trying to ‘dispose’ of such obstacles in this particular case, so that junior can have a clear path to ‘victory’, defined as admission to Elite U.

But is that good for the kids? What happens when they do face challenges later in life, and mommy or daddy are not immediately available to pick up the pieces? We all face challenges on our path to adulthood – both rich and poor alike. Maybe our car breaks down in a strange part of town and we have to figure out how to get help, or we lose our keys or cell phone or bank card, or we find ourselves in an untenable argument with a friend. It’s through such experiences that we learn resilience, we are forced to demonstrate grit, and we grow as a result.

Our job as parents is to prepare our children with the tools to succeed on their own, but not to succeed for them. Yes, sometimes we don’t understand the difference, so we help a little bit too much. But tattling on another child and exposing their secrets, anonymously, so that our own children can get ahead? I’m sorry, but that sounds like something Cersei Lannister would do to protect her precious Joffrey. I prefer not to associate with such behavior, or such characters.

I’d like to get back to good, old-fashioned hard work.

And that’s why I’m excited to announce our Summer Application Program. With this 6-week program, your rising 12th grader will get the tools s/he needs to succeed on her own, and complete his college application before the start of 12th grade. We cover all aspects of the application, and we empower students to take ownership so that they feel confident about their work and produce the best application possible.

We’re getting to work this summer, like we do every summer. If you want your child to be a part of the action, then check us out at

Again, click here to learn more and to register. If you do have questions about how to maximize your child’s chances at the Thick Envelope, feel free to call us at 954-659-1234, or email us at

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