Dear Rents and Constituents

Erin Brown
Dear Rents and Constituents,
I would like to inform you of a new word to add to your GPA, or “Good Parenting Arsenal.” It’s a word that all high school kids love to hear; in fact, we use it every day:
Since we’re talking about college, we should first mention the College Board. Basically, the College Board is our celebrity crush. We buy all of its books and constantly visit its website. Unlike most celebrities, it even knows our names. On top of this, the College Board sends us cool emails asking about our testing “experience.” I never get emails from Beyonce asking me about my concert experience.
We will never forget the first time we heard of the College Board. The memory is more vivid than our recollections of first kisses or discovering Spotify.  My pivotal moment came in May of 2014. Back when The Radnorite was still in print, the Back Page had a poem titled “Ode to College Board.” The life-changing line read,
“Ode to College Board/ You are my master, you are my lord.”
By the time we reach junior year, we have encountered the intricacies of this mysterious “Lord” known as the College Board. Not Lord Voldemort, or the Dark Lord of the Sith, but the most well known Lord: The College Board.
It’s almost impossible to articulate how much students love talking about college. Students never get enough of it. On Saturday nights when we are not playing competitive chess or binge watching all seven seasons of The West Wing in between catching up on math homework, we talk about college.
We love that Great-Aunt Mildred and Uncle Bert are a wealth of knowledge for the college process. I know if I ever have any questions about financial aid, optional standardized test taking, or college essays, I can call Uncle Bert on speed dial.
#1 on the call list.
#1 on the college knowledge list.
#4 in my heart.
Uncle Bert knows everything about college because absolutely nothing has changed since 1962. And he recently received new hearing aids, so he promised he wouldn’t get me mixed up with cousin Lexie!
When we visit extended family over the holidays or the summer there is nothing more encouraging than being compared.
“Well, Cousin Tripp thought Harvard was the right choice, but chose Stanford because the air in Boston irritates his asthma. He’s a very sensitive boy.”
“Hey Second Cousin Rob! Guess what, my son Wade got a 2370 on his SAT! Talk to you in five months when we visit for that one weekend, you know, at that family reunion.”
Compare me to Cousin Rob and tell us your kids’ SAT scores! I LOVE hearing them! But don’t you dare compare me to James Buchanan, the fifteenth United States President. He is the one President from Pennsylvania and has set the bar astronomically high. By comparing young Pennsylvanians to Buchanan, adults put an insurmountable amount of pressure on teens. It’s just too much.
Sometimes on nights before big tests we get a lil’ nervous, so here are some great texts to send for pre SAT/ACT motivation:
I know you’re not good at math, but you aren’t going to be an engineer.
—xoxo G.G. [cool, hip grandma who takes Zumba class and texts with emojis]
Remember to take deep breaths and relax. Worked for me!
—Uncle Pip [the creepy uncle who has devoted his life to studying the psychology of Mole Rats]
You are more than a number! But make sure to call and text when you get your scores back, I am dying to know!
— xoxo Nana [The highly competitive adult who uses you as a status symbol.]
I remember my SAT. I only had to take it once, so it wasn’t a big deal. Good luck!
—[cosmopolitan older cousin who lives the in the big city and overuses the words hip, aesthetic, iconic, dope, and cool vibes]
Most importantly, students need to recognize the selfless nature of all adults. The mindset of the adult concerning the insignificance of where we go to college is truly awe inspiring. College has nothing to do with status. I don’t know anyone who would ever brag about an alma mater.
Even adults get tired of dispensing so much helpful advice about college, so if you’re looking for something else to talk to a teenager about, the topics below will guarantee a lively and stimulated discussion:

  1. Greek Debt Crisis,
  2. Literally pulling teeth,
  3. Flour commodities in 1917 Ukraine,
  4. The unusual winter weather we are having,
  5. Your favorite brand of tomato sauce.

Students of America