College or Coachella

Last week was our final twelfth grade parent coffee.  Over quiche and muffins, more than thirty of us giggled about how we were once concerned about our kids hanging out on the Third Street Promenade, a neighborhood outdoor shopping mall with unsavory offerings like Pottery Barn, Old Navy and J. Crew. You would think the kids were visiting a real Banana Republic, the way we used to worry. 

We discussed prom (including last year's unfortunate "Promit" bus experience), graduation, grad night, summer plans, and then the conversation turned to the inevitable.  Someone suggested that we go around the room and each share where our children intend to matriculate. 

The list of schools was so impressive that you would never know that this was the Most Difficult Year to Get into College in the History of the World – Princeton, Yale, Berkeley, B.U., WashU, Michigan, Indiana, NYU, Barnard, GW, Tulane, WashU and more.  At least 25% were still deciding: Middlebury or Wesleyan? Columbia or Duke? Tufts or Johns Hopkins or NYU? Lewis & Clark or Bard?  Bennington or Berkeley? One harried mom said her daughter had applied to 21 schools and was now choosing between ten.

There was much discussion about the pros and cons of the life-changing decisions, even offers from certain parents to help kids get off waitlists.  But there was one course of action that was crystal clear: If a child had a choice of attending an admitted students weekend (even one that offered a free plane ticket), or the three-day/two-weekend desert music festival Coachella, there was no choice.  In every case, Coachella was the obvious winner.

The Neurotic Parent Institute has seized upon this opportunity to help the undecided.  We have contacted the festival sponsors, and next weekend, Coachella attendees will be awarded access to a Collchella Tent (next to the Red Bull concession, accessible on Sunday shortly before midnight, in between the performances of Pulp and Dr. Dre/Snoop Dogg). Deciding seniors will be issued wristbands representing the colors of the schools they are considering, and will be able to chat with other festival goers who can provide real information about campus opportunities about what teens are really looking for in a school: insufferably loud beats, video games, hook-ups, illegal substances and mosh pits.


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