Sailing Off To College

Brown University

A couple of years ago, Marilee Jones spoke in Westport.  As dean of admissions at MIT and (according to the New York Times) “guru of the movement to tame the college-admissions frenzy,” she had strong words for parents.

Let the college process be theirs, Jones said.  Don’t steal it from your kid.

She bolstered her message with a vivid analogy.  Your college-searching child is in a boat.  He’s on his own; you’re walking along the shore.   You can see the boat; you know he’s safe.  You can wade in, straighten the bow or do anything needed to help sail the boat — but if you do, you might tip it over.  This is your child’s journey; if you take it from him, you will remove the first really big thing he does as an adult.

Jones’ words resonated with many parents.  She is no longer on the lecture circuit — she resigned after MIT officials learned she fabricated 3 academic degrees when she applied for her 1st job at MIT — but Westport parents continue to grapple with how to manage the college application process.  And how to let it go.

On October 15, 22 and 29, plus November 5, Positive Directions offers a “Taming the College Process” workshop for parents of 9th through 11th graders (senior parents are also welcome).  It’s an important recognition of the fact that we often focus so much on preparing our kids academically for college, that we forget the importance of emotional maturity.

Navigating the headwinds of college is not easy.  But it helps to know who should steer the boat, and who should watch from shore.

(“Taming the College Process” meets at Positive Directions, 420 Post Road West [across from Whole Foods].  The fee is $195, and registration is limited.  For more information click here, or call 203-227-7644, ext. 132.)

2 responses to “Sailing Off To College

  1. Marilee Jones, the dean of admissions at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, became well known for urging stressed-out students competing for elite colleges to calm down and stop trying to be perfect. Yesterday she admitted that she had fabricated her own educational credentials, and resigned after nearly three decades at M.I.T. Officials of the institute said she did not have even an undergraduate degree.

  2. The above was from an April 29th, 2007 New York Times article. Link: