Wednesday’s Parent: Parenting the superstar and the struggler

Many paths lead to success Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Many paths lead to success Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

The college-bound often place the schools they are considering in one of three categories based on college admission requirements and student qualifications. Reach schools are those where student qualifications don’t fulfill college requirements but the student really wants to attend. Match or target schools are those where student qualifications meet college requirements. Safety schools are those where student qualifications exceed college requirements.

College choices may force a reevaluation of how parents and students view their current position as superstar, struggler or squished somewhere in between. For example, a school valedictorian may fall short compared with other applicants for admission at an elite college. Or an average student may be a catch for a college with lower selective criteria. Or a struggler may find himself on a par with other students on campus.

The college process can shake up perceptions and turn self-images upside down. Parents may prepare their students for the future with these five tips:

Recognize accomplishments Self-confidence in one’s abilities starts with recognizing the capability for achievement. Low self-esteem is the enemy here that will erode a student’s desire to try.

Praise the effort Not all hard work achieves the goal but many will say it is the failures that lead to future success. The key is finding reward in the journey as well as in accomplishment.

Provide opportunities Some things come easy and some things are more challenging. Which is which differs according to one’s talents, skills and abilities and therefore some activities are more likely to lead to positive outcomes. Look strategically for ways to increase chances for success and strengthen weaknesses.

Have options There are always obstacles to goal achievement but there are also many yellow brick paths to success. Expectations are most helpful when mingled with other choices to adjust and prepare should Plan B or C be necessary.

Keep smiling A positive attitude accepts new challenges as opportunities. Most importantly, it puts setbacks into perspective and uses breakthroughs as motivation.

Read Suzanne’s postTwo Kids; Two Academic Styles


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.

7 Habits that lead to Spectacular Failure

Cliché: Kick the habit.    
POCS Reality: Certain traits can derail college success and lead to failure.


There are skills that can lead you to success and habits that can doom you to failure.  I was reading the Forbes article The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives  and immediately thought of similar traits in the college-bound.

Colleges look for leadership abilities in their applicants but students must be careful to avoid the dark side. Here are 7 habits that can lead to spectacular failure:

  1. Conceit Top grades, stellar test scores and glowing recommendations illustrate high achievement that attracts attention. However, smugness and arrogance can derail this fast track to college success.
  2. One-dimension Relying on academics only takes students so far. Colleges also want their campus filled students who demonstrate a strong passion in an extracurricular activity or interest.
  3. Know-it-all Life-changing opportunities await students in college. Making snap decisions, before weighing all the pros and cons or asking for advice, can lead to disaster.
  4. Bullying Competition, jokes and pranks can be fun or destructive, good natured or spiteful. College campuses are more sensitive than ever to hazing and harassing.
  5. Show-off College campuses are a community. Negative attention can lead to a bad reputation that is difficult to shake.
  6. Self-doubt Lacking confidence and low self-esteem can hinder maximizing your college experience and taking full advantage of your higher education opportunities.
  7. Inflexible What works in the past may not thrive in the future. Change may not be easy but may be necessary to get back to the path for college success.

Read more: 7 Skills to college success students already have.

POCSmom’s College Prep DIY Insight: If any of these traits describe you, now is the time to ditch the habits that can lead to spectacular failure and start planning for college success.