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Daughter is secretive about college essay topic...


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Hi,

I was stunned when my daughter told me today she didn't want to tell me the subject of her essay. She is having one of her writing tutors critique it for her so I haven't even seen it. I was glad to see how proactive she has been about her education this past year because I've been so busy with my 2 year old. It never occurred to me that she might not want me to see it. Is this normal? Or am I missing something? I'm trying to not make a big deal out of it but I'd be lying if I said it isn't bothering me. Is this a "growing into independence" thing or indicative of something more serious?

What do you guys think?

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It would bother me just a teeny bit, but I don't think it's unusual.  There have been times when my daughter, who is a song-writer, did not want me to read her lyrics.  What, she'll sing them for the world (well, not really of course) but not let me read her lyrics?  And we have a great relationship, too!  But I do understand.

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OP, I get it.  I would be a little bit hurt, too.

 

Something similar happened here the other week.

 

In youth group, my dd13 recited a poem that she had written.  I didn't know anything about the poem until after the fact.

 

She later told me that she couldn't sleep one night and wrote the poem at something like 2 a.m.

 

When I asked her why she didn't tell me about it, she said, "Because you didn't ask."

 

So apparently I'm supposed to ask each of my children every morning, "Did you write a poem in the middle of the night last night?"   :laugh:

 

Maybe she'll tell me if she writes another one.

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Honestly, I would be very curious if a kid refused to tell me.    We have always said that we have no secrets except what your birthday or Christmas present will be (and then it is no longer secret).   And we don't. There are some things we keep private only out of respect for others (like financial details, sex, etc.).  

 

If it was no big deal, she could just say, "Oh, it's personal, but about Grandma (or driving, or horses, or ??)"  

 

I guess I'd be waiting for the shoe to drop, worrying about some big issue arising.  But that's me.  

 

 

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Agree with above poster, not secrets for us either. Yes, it's personal and I'd never read it unless she wanted me to, but why not stating the topic without going into details? I know our kids don't tell us everything, but as a mom it would make me wonder right away what is there to hide about that essay?

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Normal. I didn't like to show all my writing to my mom.  She thought I was the greatest things since sliced bread and it would embarrass me how awesome she thought they were.  

 

Also, if it were my dd, I would assume that she either chose me as the hero of her paper, and would feel silly with me reading it, or that she chose her dad/my dh as the hero and that she would think I might feel bad that she didn't choose me...aka I would actually assume something positive.  :o)

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I would assume they figured I would try to change something or (nicely) criticize their choice so they didn't want me to see it. ( :blush:)

 

I would hope that I would get to see it after it was submitted. But then I might find some grammatical error.  :Angel_anim: So, maybe not?

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We are very much a no secrets family, I'm more open with my kids about myself, as a person, than a lot of other people seem to be. So for ME it would be a worry. Is she writing an essay about us? lol. I wouldn't force her to tell me necessarily, but it would concern me. 

 

But I think it's normal for most families. We're just weird.  :lol:

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If she is mature enough to write for a college level class, she is mature enough to manage her assignments.

I would wonder if she was writing about something she felt I would disapprove of, and that is the reason that she didn't want to share it with me.

BUT

She is growing into an adult, and it is HER JOB as an individual to develop her own values and thought patterns.  She will not be a carbon copy of me, and it would be ridiculous (and unfair) of me to not want her to follow her own conscience.

Even if this is a perfectly harmless, perfectly normal choice of my daughter's, sooner or later she will develop her own opinions; and it would be unhealthy if they perfectly mirrored my own. 

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to imply that the OP would be intolerant of her daughter's writing or developing opinions.  I only know that I am a pretty extreme person when it comes to politics, and it is unlikely and unreasonable that my daughters would  be exactly the same politically as myself. 

 

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Normal. Even now, I wouldn't show my writing to my parents or friends, but would be happy to share them with a bunch of complete strangers. Go figure :)

 

Maybe it was on an embarrassing subject, or one she felt unconfident about...or maybe it wasn't. Writing can be personal, even when it's not about a personal subject. IME, it's often easier to share with people who have a purely 'business-like' approach and minimal investment, than to share with a relative or friend who might take a bit *too* much interest in a piece or try to be helpful with un-asked-for comment/criticism.

 

I'd say be open to listening/reading her work, without criticism or too much intense interest, but if she doesn't want to share, then let it go, hard as that might seem. :)

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I agree that it is totally normal. I used to teach 11th grade English and several of my students would want me to read their essay, but not their parents. I'm guessing that her essay is just very personal and honest and she probably feels self-conscious about you reading it. I remember being that age and having all these ideas and dreams that I wasn't sure my parents would understand, even though I knew they loved me tremendously. But college is the time to try on parts of yourself others haven't necessarily seen yet, so it makes sense that her college essay might reflect that sort of thing. I'm guessing this sort of honesty will yield a great essay, so don't worry! As long as she's got someone you trust providing feedback on the essay itself, there's no problem. (But I'm generally of the mindset that a college application should come wholly from the child anyway, with very little parental involvement....)

 

You've raised this child well; now it's time to trust her. :-)

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Another vote for normal. I didn't show mine to my parents and would have felt uncomfortable if they had asked. My oldest is only ten and has a big sister at a Christian dance studio. They send notes back and forth to each other and she doesn't like me to read those either. (I know from sneaking peaks before I was told absolutely not to that they are all innocuous. What's your favorite color/candy, etc.?) I think it's just the next step in independence.

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I was just asked to proof a college essay by a mom to a 17 year old. He refuses to show it to her. :) So, I agree. It is normal. 

 

He does need to rewrite it due to lack of organization so she's going to try and convince him to show it to her to help. I'm not sure it is going to work. He's as strong willed as she is. 

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It never occurred to me to not show mine to my mom, and she pretty much re-wrote them (many, many drafts, always with more changes she wanted).  I got into some great colleges but felt like a total fraud.  Here I was going to this prestigious school, but my dad was an alumnus and maybe I wouldn't have gotten in otherwise.  Maybe my own essay wouldn't have been good enough.  I went through undergraduate feeling that everyone else must be so much smarter than me and I didn't really deserve to be there.  Not to toot my own horn, but this feeling was unfounded, as I graduated with high honors and won the department prize for my senior thesis.  When I applied to graduate schools, I didn't let my parents have anything to do with it!  

 

I think it's great that she's having someone else read it over, especially if that person will be able to offer helpful feedback without rewriting it for her.

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Well, I did see my daughter's essay, but very shortly before she submitted it. She wasn't very interested in my help, but wanted me to lay eyes on it before it went out. She was horrified by all the kids in her class who paid writing tutors to 'edit' their essays (she said edit doesn't really describe the level of help they got; it sounded more like the tutors actually wrote the essays).

 

Fast forward to this Friday night: DD was notified that she was accepted to a highly-selective program (30 spots for approximately 500 applicants) at her first choice university. The letter from her admissions representative specified that the most notable parts of her application were her great letters of recommendation and her very well-written essay. 

 

I think it must be obvious and endearing when an essay is genuinely written by a 17 or 18 year old. Don't be offended or suspicious that your daughter doesn't want to share her essay. I think it is normal and perfectly fine. 

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It's completely normal. Our family has always homeschooled and been very close. Doing activities together. Fun outings , the whole sha bang.

 

They are at an age its time to test the waters of spreading thier wings while still under the guidance and protection of their parents.

 

My daughter and I were always close. And best friends today. ( she's 25). I didn't see her essays either. Highly personal. When she got married and moved out I cleaned her room. I keep all the school stuff. Sentimental go me. I looked through some of her papers, she did write sometimes about us. And it made me cry. I got a true picture of how much she loved us and thought of her family.

 

Rest assured mama. This is a very healthy step toward development of independence.

 

Isn't that really the goal of raising our lil tykes? :)

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 I think it must be obvious and endearing when an essay is genuinely written by a 17 or 18 year old.   

 

I read an article about this once, and an admissions counselor said something like, "Don't you think we know what a 50-yr-old investment banker sounds like?"  :laugh:

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