It's not like the kids haven't been preparing their essays for some time now (admissions officers). So why does it feel like we've spent days cramming for a test, unshowered, in our pajamas at 5 pm, surrounded by dirty dishes, take-out food, crumpled papers (and a wine glass)? Why have we exhausted the entire supply of Wite Out -- tape, liquid and pen -- on the Iberian Peninsula? Why didn't I pay that consultant in Connecticut the exorbitant amount of money he required to manage this process? And why am I screaming alot? I'll tell you why... because everything has to be hand-written! In case you don't have one of your own, a 14 year-old's handwriting is not a pretty sight. Sometimes the words start out large, then they get very, very small. Sometimes there are large mounds of congealed liquid and tape white-out re-written in another color pen. Some applications look like they've been written while riding in a motor boat or on the back of a scooter.
One application will require a microscope to read. But hey, admissions, you asked for it.
If you ask a 14 year-old athletic boy what he wants to do when he grows up, he probably won't say that he really wants to figure out how to split the atom (like I told him to). Instead, he'll say that he wants to play Centerfielder for the Red Sox. And his back-up plan won't be to work as an apprentice for Mother Theresa (as I suggested). He'll want to be a Rock Star. If you ask a 14 year-old girl what she likes to read, she's not gonna say, Little Women (like I told her to). If she's halfway honest, she's gonna say Twilight, or some other piece of romantic vampire chick-lit.
Sure, I probably could have persuaded my offspring to follow my suggestions (with threats, itunes gift certificates and cash), but late one night after I had failed to persuade a single teen; after a certain petulant child explained to me that she or he had answered an essay question with one sentence because one sentence was enough; I threw my hands in the air and realized that our applications (did I say "our"?) were not going to turn out as I planned.
And maybe a certain child was right: maybe one sentence was enough...