It’s all over but the waiting. That’s the feeling for parents of high school seniors, whose beloved children hurled the last application over the transom sometime in the past few weeks. Maybe there’s an Early Decision 2 notification looming but for the most part, from now until end of March is downtime, a waiting game, tenterhooks and pins and needles.
I know! Let’s use it to play a game. We can call it:
What Kind of Facebook Parent Are You? College Acceptance Edition!
Because as soon as those portals release their precious notifications your Facebook feed is going to light up like the Fourth of July with status updates. And how you share your child’s college acceptance news may say more about you than you expect.
Unabashed Bragging Mom (UBM):
“Junior got into Yale! On full scholarship! Our dreams have all come true!” Accompanied by a photo of Junior grinning ear to ear and holding up the laptop upon which his acceptance notification is displayed. Junior will definitely be wearing a sweatshirt from the school in question, which UBM was just waiting to unfurl for him the minute that inevitable acceptance arrived. The family dog may also be in the shot, but only if it is wearing matching gear.
In the weeks that follow, UBM will post things like: “Does anyone know of a good hotel near campus in New Haven? Planning for Parents Weekend already #blessed” and “Great to see the latest US News and World Report ranking showing Yale holding strong!” with a link to the article, in case you aren’t one of the people to whom she personally delivered a photocopy.
Humblebrag Mom (HM):
Subtler than UBM, but she knows you know what she’s saying. “Spring Break is going to be CRAZEE this year – zipping off with Suzy to take a final look at Providence and Cambridge…good thing Palo Alto is just up the road!” A shared post from her Instagram feed will include a shot of Suzy’s messy bedroom with acceptance letters fanned out in a manner that makes them suspiciously legible to the viewer. “What a mess in here with all the new paperwork!” the caption will read.
Empty Nest Enthusiast (ENE):
ENE’s been looking forward to this day since the youngest of her brood turned 13 and snapped at her for “looking weird and saying weird things” in public. “Johnny’s off to college!” she will post, then hit “Edit” a moment later and add, “Can anyone recommend a good contractor for converting a bedroom to an exercise studio?”
This Facebook parent will post a lot of travel-related questions in the weeks to come. By October of her child’s freshman year, she’s sent you a request to “Like” her new small business page, which relates to either baskets or organic skin care products.
Aggressively Nonchalant Mom (ANM):
She’s underplaying the whole college application process so deliberately, it’s starting to circle back around on her again. “Are college decisions coming out this month? We hadn’t even noticed! I forgot that Mary even applied to college!”
Clueless Mom (CM):
Around the time your kids filed their first applications, CM started posting questions that made you nervous on her child’s behalf. “Does anyone know when the SAT is scheduled? Has anyone used a tutor before? Can anyone recommend a site for narrowing down college choices? I’m wondering if anyone has an idea when applications are due.” Her post the day before high school graduation is: “Does anyone know if the SAT is this Saturday?”
Keepin’ It Real Mom (KIRM):
KIRM would tell you that not every kid goes to college, for a wide variety of reasons; she’d remind you (and other) Facebook parents that not all kids get in to their top choice schools and are feeling sad when they see all those celebratory broadcast posts; she’d counsel restraint and sensitivity when it comes to sharing your great news.
But KIRM closed her Facebook account last fall and has no plans to open it up again until college acceptance season is over.
Nancy Davis Kho is a writer in Oakland whose work has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle, The Toast, The Rumpus, and numerous humor anthologies. In 2014, she was selected by BlogHer as a “Voice of the Year” in the Humor Category, and was the inaugural champion of Oakland’s Literary Death Match. She teaches in the Professional Writing program at UC Berkeley Extension, and writes about the years between being hip and breaking one at MidlifeMixtape.com. She considers herself Aggressively Nonchalant Mom, and pretends she doesn’t even whether her daughter applied to college, or anything major like that.