Girl Accepted to 13 Colleges: Her Poor Parents!

collegeIt's a pretty incredible story. Fifteen-year-old girl is about to finish high school, so she starts sending out applications to colleges. And then the acceptances pour in. One, two, three ... on up to thirteen! THIRTEEN colleges want a piece of Saheela Ibraheem, including six Ivy League universities.

Allow me to send her my congratulations; the Harvard-bound teen has done something quite remarkable. But while I'm at it, would it be inappropriate to send a virtual "sympathy bouquet" to those parents? I thought the stress of ONE application (I did early acceptance) was going to undo my parents. I can't imagine sitting down with my teenager to fill out 14 ... and pay all the fees.


I know, I know, I'm dating myself. Back in the Stone Age, you filled out one application per college, and you hand-wrote that sucker, before sending it out with a kiss and a check from your parents via the United States Post Office. Today there's a "general application," filled out online, natch, and kids then add on from there depending on what a school requires.

Of course that means kids have to do MORE than we did back in the day to wow. I'm talking multimedia presentations, documentaries, projects that take weeks to prepare. And of course, they still need to track what school requires which test scores (and make sure they TAKE all those tests), rounding up recommendation letters, blah, blah, blabbity blah, blah. It's enough to make a family nuts for months on end -- even if it DOES have a fantastic result.

Which the Ibraheem family obviously did. Six Ivy acceptances? You go girl!

But come on, isn't this overkill? Ibraheem applied to 14 schools, and she got into 13. Apparently she was a pretty darn good candidate. Which, as a girl about to both turn 16 AND graduate from high school, is more or less a given. The New Jersey teen says she was afraid that the schools would be hesitant to accept a 15-year-old, which sounds rather bogus to me. Schools LOVE to parade out their super young grads; it's good PR. Anecdotally, as a 16-year-old -- just one year older -- applying to college in the '90s, I had no problems at all.

Most of us aren't financially stable enough to indulge this sort of thing. But I'm OK with that -- I dare say there's something to be said for telling your kids it's time to act like an adult (you are headed for college after all) and make some tough choices. Maybe a handful of applications, but not 14.

Are you setting a limit on how many schools your kid can apply to? What's the magic number?


Image via ozvoldjj/Flickr

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