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Kids who are applying to college this fall can’t find the same open spots that other years would be a sure bet. This will be the year of the phantom college essay: stories about what could have been and what was there once and poof gone.

At least I’m hoping that this will be the year of the phantom essay. And that the kids will be whiny, and unappealing, and that my kid will shine.

I spend late-nights reading posts from teenage boys on Reddit. One really got me: I finally told my mom I’m worried I won’t be accepted anywhere good. And my mom said, I’m worried too.

I did a double take. Is that my kid? As a homeschooler he is relatively sheltered from how much stress this college application stuff is.

Except from the stress of me, his mother, screaming at him in unfair ways. For example, in college applications, homeschool parents have to describe their homeschool philosophy. I had to describe and document my teaching approach. I wanted to write: here’s a picture of me dragging the kids through museums that I like and they don’t.

I had to describe my grading system. WTF? My grading system is you get an A or why the fuck are we even doing this?

My son argued. I argued. Back and forth.

I lost patience. You got a fucking A in AP Art and shut the fuck up about giving yourself a B. What homeschooler gets a B from their mom? This is insane. You look insane when you try to be Mr. Ethics because you can’t tell the difference between being ethical and being a tool.

Melissa had to step in and negotiate. Everything got nicer when we had a third-party stuck in the middle between us. But I’m not sure how long we can hold on. The admissions process is so messed up during Covid that some people are advising if you were planning to apply to 8 to 12 schools then you should apply to 20 this fall.

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