How to Talk to Parents about College

Adults, specifically parents, love to ask kids questions (not in a creepy way). They love to know how school is going, how sports are going, what extracurricular you’re doing, blah blah blah. In the second half of high school, the questions tend to get more specific; they want to know how you’re managing all your schoolwork, whether you have your license yet, how their kid can do what you’re doing, where you want to go to college, blah blah blah.

Now I don’t mean to disrespect what parents wonder about other parents’ children. Don’t get me wrong. I actually enjoy talking to parents. I figure why not give them some first-hand information that they might value or use to help their children? I find learning about parents’ jobs to be interesting, as well as learning about what they have to say about their own children (juicy gossip).

I do think, however, that these conversations can be made very simple. If I had a dollar for every time an adult asked me about college in the last year, I might be able to afford a fraction of tuition (that was meant to be a joke about college tuition—I seriously do get asked about college more times than you would care to know). So, you might ask, how can this be made easier? Well, my friends, these conversations can be made into formulas. Of course, your answers must still be genuine, as we mustn’t disrespect or mislead anyone. But you can generalize your honest answers in a way that makes the multitude of these conversations manageable. Here you go:

Adult: How’s junior year treating you?

You: It’s a lot of work and I’m working really hard, but it’s good. I’m taking [insert a challenging class], which is very hard but very interesting.

Adult: That’s great. So where do you want to go to college?

NOTE: Why are you asking me this!? That is a question for seniors! I’m just trying to keep my brain in tact and inside my head, rather than in pieces all over the walls!

You: [smiling] You know, I’m not sure yet. But I think I want to be in [insert region of country].

Adult: Wow. Are you taking your SAT and all that?

You: Yeah, I’m working on it. [Even if you’re taking the ACT] Hopefully I’ll be done soon.

Adult: Well, good luck with everything!

You: Thank you! [Have a nice day and try not to crush any other juniors while you’re at it] [smiling]

See, it’s simple. Just keep those answers broad and superficial. Wait until you have good news to share before you go opening doors to long, never-ending hallways of conversation.