MIT's Dean of Admissions, Marilee Jones wrote a letter to parents of all applicants. I received that letter today. It was warm, supportive and encouraging. It is a message much needed as I am getting really nervous about the gazillion things that my son needs to do for this coming month.
She said, "You'll likely find yourself playing many roles in the coming year - friend, guide, coach, cheerleader, even therapist. While it may seem temping to be involved at every step, the role of 'applicant' must truly belong to your child. Our application is carefully designed to help us get to know your son or daughter, and to be effective the voice must be exclusively his or hers. Just remember - they have to do all the work, including writing their own essays. This is their rite of passage into adulthood, after all. ..."
"One last thing...your child will need you to stay calm and grounded in the days ahead. I like to think of parents as the shoreline and their children as the little boats learning to sail. Sometimes when they are learning, the boats get lost in the fog, or run aground or tip over. But they always use the shoreline to navigate against and the shoreline never changes. When you get the urge to become over-involved in the admission process, remember that you are the shoreline and your job is to remain steady and reassure your child that everything will turn out well in the end. They need to know that they can do it, and that you have faith in them and their future."