Is This Med School Or Pre School?
“I was on a medical school admissions committee for a year. One of the applicants showed up to interview day with her mom. Medical school applicants are adults who are mostly in their 20’s.
At the committee meeting, I learned that:
At least one applicant tried to bring their mom to their interviews every year.
Applicants who stand out in a weird way on interview day are quickly rejected, regardless of qualifications. The medical school doesn’t want to deal with four years of drama.
Bringing your mom counts as standing out in a weird way.”
Here’s How You Don’t Get Your Kid Into College
“Several years ago, after my freshmen year, I spent a summer working in the admissions office of my very selective private college in New England. Most of my job consisted of giving tours to visiting families and doing data entry work. Occasionally, I had to answer the phones. People generally called the admissions office assuming we could just transfer them to any professor or the college president. We couldn’t. No, we couldn’t transfer you to your son’s history professor. No, the college president doesn’t have time to speak with you. If you don’t have his contact information, you probably don’t need to anyways.
During the middle of July, I answered a seemingly normal call from a mother who wanted to know what she needed to do to get her son into the incoming freshmen class.
Me: ‘Thank you for calling Selective School Admissions Office, this is Wolfgang, how may I help you?’
Her: (pleasantly enough) ‘Hi, I’m calling to find out what my son needs to do to be part of this freshmen class.’
Me: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, let me make sure I understand, your son was admitted, and you want to know what he needs to do next to accept his offer? That deadline was in May.’
Her: ‘No, no, no, he hasn’t applied yet, but I want him to go here this fall.’
Me: ‘Well, applications were due January 1, and admissions decisions were sent out in the spring. He can apply this fall to be a part of next year’s incoming class.’
Her: (furious) ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN NEXT YEAR? HE JUST GRADUATED AND HE NEEDS TO GO TO YOUR SCHOOL NEXT YEAR. WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR IF HE DOESN’T GO TO YOUR SCHOOL?’
Me: ‘Perhaps he can consider taking a gap year or taking classes at his local college. That may strengthen his application for when he eventually does apply.’
Her: ‘This is ridiculous, I can’t believe this. How much is this going to cost me? Are there extra fees I can pay for a late application? Who do I need to speak to?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, ma’am, but that is how the admissions process works. It takes time to read through all of the applications we receive, so we have deadlines to make the admissions process fair for everyone. Our incoming class has already been finalized, and any spots that do open will be going to students on our waitlist. As of now, we do not anticipate any spots opening up as we are slightly over-enrolled.’
She hung up after that. Needless to say, that kid didn’t get in…at least not from that phone call. It may be possible to bribe your way into a good school, but there’s a proper way to do it, and that isn’t by asking a college student to let your kid in over the phone.”
Mother Knows Best
“My mother-in-law was terrible while my husband was applying for college. My husband started getting acceptance letters from schools he had never even heard of. Turns out his mom filled out and turned in tons of applications while pretending to be him. He was furious when he found out and threw out all of those acceptance letters.
The worst was that she intercepted his application to the US Naval Academy, rewrote his essay without telling him, and probably caused him to be denied because she did such an awful job writing it. He’s a great writer, and his original essay was fantastic, but apparently, she knew best. He was understandably upset, and still brings this up to this day.
In the end, she forced him to apply to the college where she went, where he got a ton of scholarships because it isn’t the best school. He felt a ton of pressure to go there due to money, so he went, became deeply depressed, and dropped out after one semester. He came home, got better, took a couple of semesters at our local community college and decided to instead just start his own home renovation company. We dated for 5+ more years, got married, own a house and now have an 8-month-old son. We’re pretty happy!
All while being low contact with his mother-in-law.”
Trying To Make A Difference
“I’m out of the business now. I finally got a real job, but I was the transfers guy in addition to regular freshman.
There are two cases that stick with me.
The first was a phone call. A mom called in telling us her daughter should be let in with a 2.4 GPA. I was candid with her and told her it wasn’t going to happen. She was well below our requirement.
The mom started weeping. I mean, really honest weeping. I tried to calm her down some and asked her what this is all about. Parents generally just get angry, they don’t give you the reaction she gave me. She tells me she just found out she has late-stage brain cancer and she doesn’t have anywhere for her daughter to go. And she hasn’t told her yet. She had about 3 months left to live. So basically just enough time to help her daughter move in for freshman move-in day. I had her send in some documents from her doctor and took it to the director and he made a special exception. We also made sure the girl had housing. It felt good to make a difference.
The second case was a transfer who had a cumulative GPA of 1.78. I went to snap the denial off on that one before I saw the case had a pile of transcripts that hadn’t been viewed. I popped up his star (military) transcript and it looked like he joined the navy after flunking out of community college. There was boot camp, then buds within 3 months, then team lead, then pages and pages of blacked out lines.
I made the argument to the director that the guy who had 10 pages of Spec-Ops leadership was in no way going to flunk a college class, that his transcripts be ignored and he treated as a fresh applicant.
Director agrees and I got a call from Africa on a satellite phone the next day saying thank you. The dude showed up a couple weeks later to thank me in person and shake my hand.
I really did try to do my best in my position. The job sucked but I did feel like I made a solid difference more than once.”
The Mom Who Just Couldn’t Let Go
“My mother tried to call the university I was accepted to in order to slander me with false tales of arrests in an attempt to get my offer rescinded. She was mad because I ‘didn’t ask her permission to go’ despite the fact she’d thrown me out of the house five years prior, and we hadn’t spoken since.
She threw me out just before my 14th birthday when I started standing up to her latest boyfriend for hitting my brothers. I moved in with my grandmother and had no contact with her apart from the odd phone call to tell me how much I’d ruined her life, or the numerous occasions I had to go by to pick my brothers up when they called me to say her boyfriend was going after them and they were scared. I tried to be there for my siblings, but our mom moved a lot, presumably to avoid child services or skip out on rent. And, you know, I was a teenager.
I imagine she found out I was moving to my college town from her mother. but she didn’t realize there were two colleges in that town, and called the wrong one! I stuck it to her by graduating.
She is a consummate victim, a narcissist, and an abuser. All of my siblings, bar one, are now away from her and doing their best to live their own lives. Despite living on another continent, I still get random hateful messages from her. I take comfort in knowing she will die alone and unmourned, without the drama and validation she so desperately craves.
So suck my fat degree, Joanne.”
I’m Just IT Ma’am
“Had a parent literally work their way down the phonebook trying to get what she wanted. She eventually got to me, the sysadmin for the admissions system at the time. I just deflected the barrage of insanity with, ‘I don’t have the ability to make any admission decisions, I am just the tech guy.’ To which she asked if I could just change a thing or two to let her son in. That was pretty bad.”
When The Professor’s Mom Calls, You Know It’s Bad
“My husband works for a college. A PROFESSOR’s mom called and complained about her little baby not getting tenure.
Let’s see, he wasn’t doing his job, was stealing money from the school, and was boinking an undergrad. So yeah, no tenure.”
Wow, They’ve Seen It All
“I worked in admissions for a Russell Group university in the UK. As part of this, I also worked the clearing lines, which is where mostly sad students who didn’t get as good grades as they expected and occasionally happy students who did slightly better compete for leftover spots.
Here are some stories:
-A mother threatened to find where I lived and cut off my legs because I wouldn’t offer her son a place on our medicine course (medicine applications in the UK have a very strict procedure and no you can’t just call in). I nearly cried with how vile she was to me. I found their address and sent them an envelope with some not-so-friendly sentiments.
-After stating I couldn’t offer a guy a place on Economics because we needed AAA and he had BBC, he passed the phone to his mother who said: ‘But he was part of the hockey team, and I think you clearly need the applicants so you would be at a loss if you didn’t have him’. No, love, we don’t need your kid all that bad.
-I tried to delicately explain to a dad that the BTEC qualification (an equivalent to the A-level that isn’t typically accepted for more competitive courses like medicine, law, and veterinary) wasn’t accepted for veterinary. The issue is, it’s a more practical, vocational qualification and not very academic, so it doesn’t really suit for these courses. I essentially had to say his son wasn’t clever enough (or hadn’t picked the right qualification to do to prove that). He then said I was a stupid woman and hung up on me.
-A guy rang me from Ghana and I rejected him for Law. He then said I was cursed for eternity and hoped I would die in childbirth.
-A woman was rejected from a masters course and wanted to know why – because she had applied to MS Chemistry and her bachelors was in history and she hadn’t even attached a personal statement. She then said: ‘I bet you don’t even understand what it’s like to be at university, working in the terrible administration job you do,’ to which I explained I had a bachelors from a Russell group myself and was due to start my masters in September.
I could go on forever. I hated that job.”
When They Resort To Threats Of Violence
“I used to work in a research-intensive private institution. A mom on a campus visit told me that if her son’s classmate was accepted instead of him, she would come back and slit my throat.
The woman and her son were quickly removed from the campus, and we destroyed his application.”
This Mom Was Trying To Help… In All The Wrong Ways
“We have a summer program for incoming freshmen where they can stay the weekend in the dorms and do activities on campus and whatnot to get to know the school before they come up for the fall.
One time, a mom just assumed she would be staying with her student. In the dorms. In the male dorm. The kicker was they had driven something like 10 hours to get to campus, and she refused to not stay with her son in the dorm despite him already having a roommate assigned and everything. She screamed and cried, even denied us when we said we would help her get a hotel.
Eventually, she swore at one of the school’s VPs and left with her son. I felt awful for the kid. He seemed pretty normal, and I don’t think he ended up coming in the fall.
There’s always a ton of crazy parents but that one stood out. We had a casual hand signal for crazy helicopter parents when we were talking with coworkers and other staff.”
Can You Trust The Grades?
“We see a lot of applications from home-schooled students that have a ‘high school’ GPA of 4.0 or 3.9 (can’t make it seem too perfect), but then have terrible test scores. The ACT is the big test here, and sometimes the students will have a 15 or 16 out of 36 and expect to get in based on their GPA and extracurriculars, which are all church-based volunteering at places I’ve never heard of.
When they get rejected, the mother will call and explain how great her child is at learning and how it would kill her to see her child not get in.”
Nursing School Is Almost A Cult At This Point
“My mom is a registered nurse. When I was 19, she wasn’t happy with my career choice and decided she would forge my application to a nursing school. She forged all my documents, all my signatures, and applied for scholarships. Then she presented my full-ride nursing scholarship as a gift.
One huge problem with me being a nurse. The sight and smell of bodily fluids disgust me and make me want to gag.
I am not fit to be a nurse, I don’t want to be a nurse, and I have never expressed any interest in being a nurse…but my mom tried to force me to become a nurse.
In the end, I never spent a day in college. Honestly, I never intended on going to college. Always saw it as a waste of time for me.”
The Mother Had To Do It All
“My first day of undergrad, I went into the bookstore to get my textbooks and there was a middle-aged woman leading her miserable-looking son around the bookstore, piling his textbooks in his arms. She had his class list printed out, and from the way she was speaking to him, it was pretty clear that Mama had picked out all of his classes for him. When I met up with a friend in the food court later, we saw her sitting with him at a table, textbooks spread out, and she was actually highlighting the chapters and paragraphs that she felt were the most important, and writing out a study schedule for him, while he stared blankly off into the distance. Poor kid.
The helicopter parenting at that university (large public research university in Canada) was so bad that my school actually held a ‘parents’ orientation’ during the student orientation that basically consisted of staff telling parents ‘leave your freaking kids alone, do not email their professors, we will not show you their grades, we will not check to make sure they’re eating their vegetables.’
My first day of graduate school, my advisor told me ‘if your parents ever contact me, I will block them immediately.’
When You Deal With Parents More Than The Students
“I work in my school’s financial aid office, and it’s ridiculous how many parents just do everything for the student. Sometimes we need information to come directly from the student and sometimes there is certain information we can only tell the student, due to FERPA. Parents will act like getting their student to send us an email is going to be the hardest thing in the world and if that’s the case maybe they shouldn’t be in school.
I also once had a parent yell at me for 20 minutes because I wouldn’t tell her why her kid wasn’t getting financial aid and that she should get to know everything that’s going on because she’s the one who pays for it. I almost told her, ‘Well, maybe you should stop doing that.’
It’s ridiculous how many parents do everything for their kid but even worse is how many kids take that for granted.
When I got my job, I was excited to mainly be working with college students, as they are typically nicer and more understanding then middle-aged women, but I deal with angry moms far more than actual students.”
When The Parent Has To Do The Work For The Student
“I had a father on the phone for a good 30 minutes after closing time (I tried to hang up, but the questions and words just kept coming no matter how many times I said: ‘Sir, we closed at 5’). He kept asking questions then cutting me off while I was attempting to answer them.
At one point, he made me walk through, search term by search term, page by page, keystroke to mouse-click, how to get to the place where he would have to put down the deposit for committing to the university. This was alongside telling me to wait while he got the username and password from his daughter, asking me to email him the page I was looking at, and asking if he would get a discount because he had another kid who went to the university (and why that wasn’t a thing).
I can’t say for sure that the daughter was aware of his part, but it was the last day to commit, so I’m thinking the daughter probably wasn’t too on top of her college admissions process in general.”
Nothing Is Worse Than The Parents
“I’m a senior and in my second year interning in my school’s office. We get phone calls and emails out the wazoo, mostly from parents though. They’re definitely worse than the kids. Two examples come to mind.
We got a bunch of emails from a fake account giving us a list of a dozen students that ‘go to clubs and drink and smoke.’ It could have been another student or a parent but messed up regardless.
A mother called pretending to be her son to tell us about ‘his’ selection to his county’s All-County football team. I was on the phone with this lady while she was trying to tell me how ‘he’ made it at linebacker, and she gave me ‘his’ stats. The kid had a pretty good year, and I told her to tell him congratulations before hanging up.”