Don’t make excuses for your kids’ school’s supposed weaknesses – It’ll backfire on you
Parents, this is a check on yourself. Especially if you are sending your kids to a selective art academy or niche high school. Your son or daughter may have made it to their senior year with great grades and an interesting resume to boot. That’s probably why you chose the school. For a number of years the students may have devoted multiple hours each day to focused attention on the visual or performing arts. You now face the fact that the art enrichment your child received has limited the number of resources the school has available for advanced curricula in other disciplines like the sciences or foreign language. And you may want your child’s counselor to write a letter to the admissions office explaining that the school’s limited resources are the reason the student has not followed a rigorous schedule of upper level coursework – think AP or other advanced courses.
Don’t do it. Chances are that students from your school already attend prestigious colleges, universities, and conservatories around the world. The colleges know about your child’s high school – and it’s limitations. They’ve admitted students from your school before and will continue to do so. The colleges have seen the school’s profile and know exactly what curriculum limitations are in play. They also know about the creative capacity that these students will bring to their student body that the college won’t get elsewhere. And, bottom line, the counselor won’t write this letter. They don’t want to because they know it will hurt the student. And they don’t have to because, if you were smart, you waived your right to see the content of the letter. And if for some reason you choose to pressure the counselor and the school, and you make sure the letter is sent to the college on your child’s behalf, then you become That Parent. That parent is the one that no admissions office wants to deal with because you control every aspect of your child’s education. And you’ll be calling them, questioning them, all the time. They don’t want it or have time for that.
Trust the process. Trust that your child’s school is the right one for them, and the colleges will know all the detail they need to know based on previous interactions with the school and the school report that the school provides with the child’s transcript. Trust your child has created their list of colleges that are good fit schools, and that even if your list only contains schools where acceptance rates are in the single digits, that when your child gets into none of them there is still a list of great schools looking for great students even after the May 1 notification deadline.
Take a deep breath. This will all work out.