Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Be Ready to Listen, Book Parents Weekend and more: Next Steps for Parents

As parents, we know that sometimes the best advice can come from fellow parents who have successfully navigated some developmental step or landmark -- or land mine -- in their children's lives. Here are two of the savviest moms we know -- Lisa Endlich Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington of the excellent blog Grown and Flown -- on next steps for parents of seniors.


This is a moment to rejoice.  Your child was accepted to college and all of your effort and his have resulted in this success. There may be some small disappointments, there may euphoria and there may be some big decisions ahead, but this is one of life’s big moments and it should be noted and celebrated. Let your nearly grown child know just how proud you are and acknowledge how much of his effort it took to get to this moment. 

Once your family has taken a time to savor this special moment, there are a few more practical matters that need your 

Book the revisits.

Your child may be making a very real decision between two or more schools they have not seen in a year, or more.  See if the school has official revisit days when pre-frosh return for an organized program.  If such a program exists, make certain to book a place in the program and hotel reservations if needed.  If there is not official program, make plans for your teen to take another 

Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone...

College Admission went to a book party last night thrown by Grown and Flown's Lisa Endlich Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington in honor of Becky Blades, writer, artist and author of Do Your Laundry or You'll Die Alone: Advice Your Mom Would Give You if She Thought You Were Listening. Blades penned 269 pieces of advice for her two daughters, Taylor Kay and Tess -- primarily as a way of working through her separation anxiety as the eldest headed off to college. (Excellent idea, by the way.)

Her words of wisdom range from the practical: "Cooked food lasts 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. That's all. After that, you will have to throw it out. Your Mother will not be doing this anymore."

To the felicitous: "Own a tutu and a boa. Because you just never know."

And the things you cannot say too many times: "Don't text while you're driving."

On to the horrifying but you have to say it: "Keep your knees together when you're sitting on stage."

How to Mind your Manners while Applying to College

Lisa Endlich Heffernan of the excellent blog Grown and Flown has some great advice for students -- and parents -- about best behavior and student etiquette so the college application process carries you where you want to go. 

The college process is a long campaign -- it can be exhausting, distracting and anxiety-producing. So good manners should have a place of prominence.  But it is all too easy for an overwrought, otherwise distracted teen to forget what they have been taught.   As a parent I was often distracted by the details of the process, too, and failed in my job of reminding my sons to mind their manners along the way.  So here are a few reminders, I wish I had had.


Time, time, time... Advice on Squeezing it All into the College Application Years

If experience has taught me anything about these waning years of hands-on parenting it is that there is very much a time and a place for parents to help. The area where parents can do their kids the greatest service is in time management.  Even the most mature teens would be hard pressed to recognize at the outset the huge demands on their time as the wind through the final years of high school.  Our role, I believe is not to do things for them, but to help them envision the process, its demands and how they will squeeze it all into their busy lives.

Here are some suggestions to help them on their way:

1. Help your child plan out their academic life

Sit down with your 9th grader or 10th grader and their high school course catalogue and plan backward from 12th grade. Together, think about what they hope to accomplish academically over their high school years. Help them pick the most challenging classes they hope to take in the subject areas they enjoy. Have them look at the prerequisites for these classes and the paths they are going to take to reach their goals. Granted interests change and so do school schedules, but but kids with a plan have goals for themselves.

2. Ask your child to select one activity in which they will try to excel.

The Parenting Process

We are very excited about a new recurring feature here on the blog! We will be joined monthly by a group of parents who will blog about their reality of the college application process. They'll be bringing you their firsthand experience of the emotional highs and lows, insight into the coping strategies that have worked for them, and some foresight -- or 20-20 hindsight -- into what to expect, and how to appropriately help, during the course of a college admission journey.

We may not always completely agree with what our parent bloggers have to say when it comes to an individual piece of advice. Our book is a comprehensive guide and as such, speaks to students and families on both ends of the spectrum and everywhere in between -- from first-generation students or those from under resourced schools to those who have been groomed for college since birth. Our guest bloggers are writing from their particular experience. But we believe that parents are hungry for true stories of treading the college application track as a family and that hearing the experience of fellow travelers is always helpful in what can be a stressful time.