My daughter, Maureen, is a 2006 high school graduate. She is a top student. Over the summer my wife and I went with her to over a dozen colleges and universities for tours and interviews. My wife and I fought and argued and worked together to fill out financial aid applications. My daughter waited expectantly for letters from the six schools she decided to apply to. She received acceptances and rejections. The three of us discussed the reasons for the acceptance and denials. We cried and laughed about the process and the letters. In the end, Maureen was accepted to 4 schools and wait listed at two. When she finally chose her college, we celebrated.
College applications are a rite of passage for most high school graduates. A reality show that follows a small number of high school seniors from the end of their junior year of high school until they receive their acceptances would be emotional, exciting and instructive for parents and children across the United States.
The first episode would begin with the last day of 11th grade. Our stars would be students at different kinds of high schools around the country. One could be from a top suburban high school. Another could be from a parochial school. There would be a child from an inner-city school that is under financial stress. How about a top public school such as Stuyvesant in New York City or Boston Latin. A home schooled child could round out our group.
Cameras follow the rising seniors on their last day of high school. Our stars interview their friends about their summer plans for college searching. When the kids return home at the end of the school day, they discuss their summer plans with their parents.
Then, we hear from the parents. Where do they think their children should go to school? What experience did they have in college? How does that effect their expectations? What do they want their children to get out of their college experience?
The camera and the audience will follow the parents and children from campus to campus. This will give the photographers opportunities to showcase their artistic ability. Imagine contrasting the beauty of a rural New England campus with an urban campus in, or a west coast campus on the water with a campus in the mountains. Comparisons will cover large public versus small private institutions, technical colleges and liberal arts colleges, historic Ivy League universities and schools that are so new that they have no alumni.
As the show progresses, some of the students will find their educational home early through the early admissions process. By the end of the season, all of the students will have placement. There may be surprises. What if a student decides to join the Marines? Will a student get into Harvard or Yale? How will they pay for it?
The final episode will recap the series. The families come together in a studio. They see clips from the first episode. They talk about how they came to their decisions. Was the process what they anticipated? Are the children happy with their choices? Are the parents happy with their children’s choices? Where do they see themselves in five years?