The Big Apple

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Arthur and I are anxiously awaiting the college acceptance or denial (bad word) letters.  It’ll probably take several months before we hear anything.  If Arthur decides to attend college in New York City, then chances are I may be moving there too.  Of course, Arthur doesn’t know this – I could always get a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan.  According to realtor {dot} com, my husband and I could rent a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan for $2,500 a month.  That’s actually almost three times what it costs us to pay our current mortgage.  Yikes!!!!! Read More

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Do You Know the Definition?

Last week I interviewed several college students asking them the following question…”Can you define the term Helicopter Mom?” Surprisingly, not one of the college students knew the definition.  Although, some of the students admitted their moms were Helicopter Moms or had friends whose parents were overbearing and overprotective – but they’d never heard of the term.  I interviewed girls between the ages of 18 and 31.

Next week I plan to interview male college students to get their perspective of Helicopter Moms.  To see recent interviews, click on our “Videos” page.

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Helicoptermamma Interviews Two College Girls

To see more video-taped interviews, click on the “Videos” page.

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College Application Deadlines

college applications

OK ladies, we are in the month of November and it’s time to begin submitting college applications for your high school seniors.  Arthur is planning to attend college at New York University, but it’s always a good idea to submit applications to multiple universities just in case your first choice is declined.  So, I have compiled a list of colleges (in order of preference) for Arthur:

1st choice: New York University

2nd choice: Stanford University

3rd choice: Harvard University

4th choice: University of California at Los Angeles

5th choice: San Diego State University

6th choice: Marquette University

7th choice: University of Southern California

8th choice: Boston University

9th choice: University of San Diego

10th choice: Cal State University – Northridge

Notice I have a mix of colleges and universities, because Arthur could change his mind at the last-minute and my back-up plan will then be in place.  Each college requires an application fee when submitting your admission applications; check in advance for fee amounts.  Then proceed by submitting applications online to each college or university – some colleges offer free online application submission.

I think it’s best to select 5 to 10 schools, but the application fees can add up.  However, many colleges offer an application fee waiver.  You may qualify for a fee waiver, but you must check with each college.  The college application deadline link for all colleges and universities within the United States is at collegedata {dot} com.

Each university has three sets of deadlines:

  1. Early Admission
  2. Early Action
  3. Regular Admission

I plan on submitting applications prior to the regular admissions deadline.  Please, keep in mind some admission dates are “rolling” or continuous throughout the year.  Also, high school transcripts must be included, along with teacher evaluations and a mid year progress report card.

If you need any additional information, feel free to send me an email – Carolyn {at} helicoptermamma {dot} org.

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Structured Procrastinator


“. . . anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” — Robert Benchley, in Chips off the Old Benchley, 1949

OK, yesterday I spoke with Arthur regarding his “late” math homework assignments.  I demanded to know why he waits until the very last-minute to complete his math homework (this according to his math teacher Mr. W).  Waiting until lunch time, while sitting directly across from his math teacher is not a good idea.  It went like this, “Mr. W. sent an email…he was not very happy with you Arthur”.  Arthur calmly looks up and says, “Really?”…then he smiles briefly and said,  “Oh, he finally emailed you.  It takes him weeks to update our homework assignments.  I’m not surprised it took him almost three months to contact you. I think he’s too old to be teaching, he needs to retire. ”

So this kid knew he was literally insulting his math teacher by waltzing into his classroom during lunch to do math homework. Mind you, the syllabus lists all math assignments for the entire semester, which allows these kids ample time to complete them.  Such arrogance!

“You know you gotta pass math so you can graduate and start college next year.  What gives kid?”  He’s smirking now, “Mom, don’t worry about this, I got this.  Everything’s under control.”    What does this kid mean by “…everything’s under control”?  Evidently, nothing’s under control if your math teacher’s miffed.   “Arthur, stop waiting until your lunch crunch to do your darn homework!  I mean it”.

I will continue to stay in contact with Mr. W., so I can ensure this kid does his homework the night before.  What can I say, the kid’s arrogant like his father.  It’s in the genes.  But, I read an article recently about folks who are defined as “structured procrastinators”.

“All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.” John Perry

I’m sure there have been times we’ve all put important stuff off, to do the not-so-important stuff.  But, who has the nerve to go to school, sit in front of his teacher and say, “Hey teach, guess what?  I’m just starting my homework.  Ha ha!”  Not good.  It means I really don’t care about you or your stupid math class.  Sends the wrong signal in my opinion.

“Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing.” more by John Perry

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October SAT Scores Are In!

Arthur’s SAT scores from October 6th posted today and I am happy to report an improvement in his overall score.  He actually improved significantly in all three areas (critical reading, math and writing).  He upped his critical reading score by 40 points, math by 30 points and writing by 50 points.  Although I am pleased; I would certainly like to see a much higher aggregate score.  Nonetheless, these results are definitely good enough for him to attend any college of his choice (his grade point average is really high, according to his latest progress report card).  Colleges look at grade point averages, SAT and/or ACT scores and primarily base their decisions on these factors.

I don’t want to reveal Arthur’s aggregate SAT scores here (he has friends and teachers who read my blog and I don’t want embarrass him).  Besides, he may be telling all of his friends that he scored 2400 points (combined test results from all three 800-point sections), which is a perfect score. I can tell you he did not get a perfect score.

The next SAT exam is scheduled for November 1, 2012.  It’s too late to register for the November 1st exam (registration deadline was October 22, 2012).  However, another is slated for December 1, 2012 – it’s important to register your high school junior or senior prior to November 1, 2012 to avoid late registration fees.  The registration fee is $50.00 and if you’ve already registered and would like to change the testing location you must submit an additional fee of $25.00.  Register today at College Board {dot} com.

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Waiting for SAT Scores to Post

My son’s SAT scores from October 6th will be available in three days and I am anxiously awaiting the results.  I hope he scored higher than the first time, but he’s still eligible to apply for any college of his choice.  Whether he will be accepted will depend on several other factors.  His grade point average is well over 3.0; so I know he should be OK.  I will keep you posted on whether he improved in a few days.  If you have high school kids, then tell me how they are doing on their PSAT and SAT scores.  Are they having to retake these tests to improve their overall scores?

My son’s high school offered a Saturday SAT workshop, which ran for three or four Saturdays and the cost was only $100 dollars total.  I think it really helps the kids to study together in small groups.  They were able to ask questions on areas in which they encountered difficulties while taking the SAT and many of their questions were answered at the workshop.  So, check with your son or daughter’s high school to see if these sorts of workshops are offered.

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Increase Your Kids’ SAT Scores

The next SAT test dates are rapidly approaching on November 3, 2012 and December 1, 2012. There are several ways you can increase your son or daughter’s SAT scores. Below are highly recommended SAT and ACT Prep Courses:

Princetonreview – offers an 18-hour classroom course for only $599.00.
Kaplan – offers unlimited PSAT, SAT and ACT test prep throughout the entire senior year for only $999.00.
College Board – offers FREE online practice tests and the SAT Official Study Guide with DVD for only $31.99.

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How to Choose the Best College for Your Son or Daughter

Should selecting the appropriate college be the student’s choice, parent’s choice or both? I feel overwhelmed right now, because my son will be applying for college admission this November 2012. I want a school that’s affordable, safe and well-respected. Is that too much to ask? Maybe not. My son Arthur currently has about a 3.3 grade point average and he is hoping after completion of his senior year; to increase his grade point average to about a 3.7. With that being said, he can probably apply to and get accepted into several different colleges or universities.

My number one concern is cost. I did manage to save a small amount for his college tuition and housing expenses, but what he has in savings will probably only cover the first two years of college. So, he will have to get a part-time job to finish his junior and senior years of college. A job is OK, because it will prepare him for the real world. A job builds character and prepares these college kids for what life will be like once they are actually working in corporate America. I suggested he apply for an on-campus job, possibly in the bookstore or student union. This way he will not have to travel too far from his apartment or dorm room to get to work. In the long run, this will save time, money and worries.

Selecting a public or private college or university is my next concern. He can attend a public state funded university for about $20,600 annually which includes tuition, room and board. State college enrollment on average is about 31,000 students. On the other hand, a private school would cost approximately $38,000 annually in tuition costs alone. Room and Board would be an additional $15,000. A private school, such as Princeton University has an enrollment of approximately 7,800 total students. However, in order to attend a private college, Arthur would have to obtain student loans, grants and/or scholarships to help cover his expenses.

A private college would allow him smaller classes and greater ability to communicate with his professors. On the other hand, a larger university would create a larger lecture room environment and possibly a feeling of alienation between my son and his college professors. I truly would like for him to attend a state funded college, simply because the costs are affordable. I just wish the class sizes were smaller. I also feel smaller class sizes equate to a safer environment.

In order to be sure you are sending your son or daughter off to a safe college, you must check the local college crime statistics. Of the top 25 most crime-rattled colleges, Harvard ranked number 25, with only 1 murder, 92 robberies, 87 aggravated assaults, 357 burglaries and 93 car thefts from 2008 through 2010. University of Alabama at Huntsville was ranked number 1 with 3 murders, 4 robberies, 10 aggravated assaults, 80 burglaries and 8 car thefts from 2008 through 2010.

How do you know a school is well-respected? I’ve based this upon the number of working graduates. If a school is not as well-respected, then I would assume the graduates are not getting hired in large numbers. For example, if a graduate from Harvard and Cal State University – Bakersfield were competing for the same job; the Harvard grad would more than likely get hired for the job before the graduate from Cal State University – Bakersfield. This is simply my opinion and my opinion alone. This means that Harvard is a much more respected and highly reputable college than that of Cal State University – Bakersfield. So it is important to research graduate students who are gainfully employed from a particular university or college. If the grads are having a difficult time finding work, then that is a signal (in my opinion) the college is not as highly respected as say an Ivy League school.

College Resources:

Find The Best Colleges – utilize this resource to compare colleges and universities. It gives you a snapshot of costs, size, acceptance rate and smart ranking.

US College Search – assists college-bound students and their parents in selecting a college that meets their particular needs. Anyone can search by Degree/Program or location.

Any College – this site is a great resource, as it contains college videos and additional resources for high school students, parents and counselors. Students can search by religious affiliations, degree programs offered, location, sports programs and/or school type.

Fast Web – great website for searching for scholarships, financial aid resources and career planning.

College Recruiter – premiere information source for college students, grads and recent graduates who are seeking employment, continuing education and business opportunities.

College Board – college search, college planning, career development. Start here for PSAT, SAT and CLEP testing needs.

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Feeling Neutral Today

I am trying to remain neutral about the decisions my son will make about his future.  I would like for him to attend a college nearby, not more than a two-hour drive away.  Of course, I would like to be able to visit with him on the weekends and holidays, but my husband is hoping my son attends a college in another state.  That is a big move for someone so young, particularly if they don’t have any close friends or relatives in that “new” state.

My son will be applying to state colleges, UC colleges and a few Ivy League schools.  He has a great chance of being accepted to an Ivy League and wherever he goes, well – I plan to follow as his mother.  Am I wrong?  I want to be near my son should he have any problems, then he can come to myself and my husband for help or advice.  He’s talking about moving to Boston, New York and even Philadelphia and I am looking for apartments in each of those areas.  I promised my son that I would not get involved in his personal or professional life, but I would like to be a springboard should he need me.

Please let me know if I am wrong or if there are any other mothers who feel the same way I do.

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College Life

My son is starting his last year of high school in two weeks.  We will be completing and submitting college admissions applications in a few months and I would rather he reside in a college dormitory rather than have his own apartment.  I think the on-campus environment would do him well.  I just don’t know how to convince him of this, so what should I do?  I was thinking of visiting the prospective college campuses and visiting the dormitories so he can see first-hand which is more convenient (on-campus housing or off-campus housing).

I remember when I started college many years ago (over 20 now), I enjoyed living in the dormitory.  My roommate was from Ohio and she and I got along well.  The only problems I encountered with my college roommate was the fact that she wore my clothing and ate my food, without my permission.  I would come home from visiting my family on the weekends only to find the groceries I’d purchased from Mrs. Gooch’s all gone and my clean clothes would be dumped in the clothing hamper.  I would ask her, “Did you wear my clothes and eat my food?” and she’d calmly reply, “Yes, I did – what’s the big deal?”.  I would sit there in shock.

Just wasn’t used to the idea of having someone slip in and out of my clothes without asking.  And eating up all my food without even calling me to say, “Hey, I ate your food and you should pick up more on the way home.”  A heads-up would have been polite.

So, then I decided to lock up things I did not want her to touch.  I really didn’t care too much about her eating away at my food, just didn’t want her wearing my new clothes and shoes.  Was very offended by that.

Anyways, my son and I will try to view the on-campus and off-campus housing options online, because taking a trip to each college campus would be very expensive, especially since some of his selections are out-of-state.  He’s looking at New York, Pennsylvania, and Boston.  So, we will just have to try our best to mull it over before making the right decision. I wish all of you mothers out there good luck, because we are gonna need it!

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