This Fall, I Want My Teen to Focus on Living, Not the College Rat Race

My late father got a scholarship to Princeton University and earned a master’s degree in American literature from Columbia University. He was under/unemployed his entire life. That’s what I tell all the high-strung, type-A moms who caution that my daughter will never get into a decent college because she’s only taking one advanced placement course this upcoming academic year at her elite New York City public high school. Conventional bizdom says families of 11th graders must fork over oodles of cash to the College Board for AP and SAT exams to stand out come college admissions time. But after an agonizing year and a half of mostly remote learning (a dismal total of only 12 hours of synchronous instruction a week), I’m not looking for my teen to compete; I just want her to successfully complete a year of full-time, in-person high school.

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