Wednesday’s Parent: 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage

Broken rule. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Broken rule. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

It’s one of life’s ironies played on teenagers: they are natural rebels testing limits at the very time they have a host of new college prep rules to follow.

The stakes are high putting pressure on students to follow procedures precisely. They are penalized for not submitting quality answers in the format designated. Whether it be homework, standardized tests, or college/scholarship applications, broken rules can negatively impact grades, scores, college admission and financial aid.

But there is some wiggle room for the “James Dean” college-bound and the good news is parents can encourage and support these five rule-breaking ways:

1. Creativity Direct those rebel tendencies to thinking out of the box. Students can stretch those creative muscles in essays, papers and projects. Read College Professor Invents Origami-Inspired Microscope That Only Costs 50-Cents to Make and watch the video to get inspiration.

2. Leadership Colleges want their students to show leadership qualities and students may do this through officer positions in extracurricular clubs. Being a club member is fine but going to the next level gives students a chance to move from rule follower to rule leader.

3. Solo Students may tackle a special academic and extra-curricular activity on their own. From research to community service projects, they get a chance to be the rule-maker.

4. Entrepreneurship Another way to get a chance to make rules is by starting a business. Students also get the bonus of acquiring leadership skills (see above) and earning extra money!

5. Social Media Students are on it anyway so they might as well coordinate, manage and market their social media presence in their best light. This gives them control over their “brand” to make the rules work for them.

For more about rules and the college process, see Suzanne’s blog.


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

3 thoughts on “Wednesday’s Parent: 5 rule-breaking ways to encourage

  1. Pingback: Wednesday's Parent: Obey the Rules - Parents Countdown to College Coach

  2. These are all great tips. I especially like #3 Solo because it gives students a chance to do unique projects that aren’t available on the school campus. That can go a long way in finding the things they are truly passionate about.

  3. So true about #3 Solo, Nicole. Finding and developing interests may add to the the college application resume and develop into a life-long avocation or vocation. Thanks for your comments.