With the recent introduction of gender reveal lasagna, it's clear that people love including their friends and family — and, at times, the entire internet — in their families' big moments.
So maybe it's not altogether surprising that now — approximately 18 years after they found out the gender of their children — parents and their high school seniors are asking us to participate in a different kind of reveal: their college decisions.
Parents and teens often post about acceptances or college decisions on social media, holding up acceptance letters or pennants or a T-shirt bearing the name of their future alma maters. But in a college reveal, the students go farther, eliminating choices one by one until they finally announce the college where they have chosen to actually commit.
"College reveal" posts on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube are growing more and more common, and even entire parties centered on college reveals are starting to become a thing. But like gender reveals before them, the idea does not appeal to everyone.
Heather Doyle, a Florida mother of two current college students and a high school senior, said that when her children decided where they were going to attend college, she made a social media post to congratulate them on the decision, but she cannot imagine posting an entire "reveal."
Always tell the truth. It's how you want your child to behave, right?
"I just find it extremely obnoxious when people list every school they were accepted to," she said. "Who cares? Yay, you!"
Grown & Flown , a website and social media community for parents of teens and college students, ran an editorial by Marybeth Bock — herself the mother of two college students — deliberating the pros and cons of the college reveal trend.
"It’s hard not to admit that those college-colored cake pops are actually adorable, and that table display with hand-painted letters is very clever," Bock wrote. "If someone can afford to go over-the-top for this event — that is obviously important to them — who are we to roll our eyes and share that we think it’s just ridiculous?"
· Most of the college students who attempted suicide described anxiety, depression, and feeling overwhelmed by academic workload as the major stressors in their life. · While parents believed stress and anxiety as the main causes of their children’s suicidal ideation, college students identified family stress and finances as the major contributors.
Bock also notes the downsides of the idea. "But it’s also easy to acknowledge that this trend is yet another opportunity for people to be a tad insensitive. First of all, the indulgence of a college reveal party that is posted online is another in-your-face example of the disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots."
For Dena Mielke and her husband Jason, a college reveal party for their youngest son, Carson, made sense. They had every reason to celebrate Carson's graduation from high school in 2018: He was class valedictorian, a varsity swimmer and soccer player, and he played the jazz trumpet at his high school near their home in the Seattle, Washington, area.
Show faith in your school. Prepare your children to work hard so that teachers can help them to learn well. Establish rights, rules, responsibilities and routines in your household and let every child do their bit. Give them chores, square meals, the time to talk and the sleep they need.
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Though most seniors decide where they will attend college in the early spring, Carson made deposits at two different universities while he waited to find out about honors college options at each of the two schools. He was still waiting late into the spring to make his decision.
"It got so close to the date of his graduation party that I told him he should just do a college reveal party much like a gender reveal party," Dena told TODAY Parents. "I think he was getting really tired of everyone asking him every day where he was going, so we thought we put a fun spin on it."
Out on the edge, you can see all kinds of things you can't see from the center." Of course, because I only attended one college—and Hampshire didn't have any tests or grades—there's no way of knowing what would have happened to the trajectory of my life if I'd attended a traditional college that encouraged people to stick closer to the path most traveled and get straight A’s.
What Dena didn’t expect was that Carson would keep his decision a secret from her as well. "I wrapped a big appliance box a few days beforehand, and his grandma was the only one in on the secret," she said. "She drove him to the party store that morning to buy blue and gold balloons — which signified he had chosen Montana State."
Dena had two different sets of college gear on hand so she would be prepared with gifts no matter which college Carson chose. It was hard for the mom to wait, but she was kept too busy at the party to peek ahead of time.
Talk about what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your toddler whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why.
When Carson opened the box for the partygoers and the Montana State University colors emerged from the box, they were met with applause and and cheers. "Everyone ultimately knew that’s where he wanted to go, but it was so fun to see it be official," said Dena.
The Mielkes felt the reveal was a positive way to wrap up the college admissions process. "So much stress goes into the senior year that this was just a fun way of saying, 'Hey, you finally made it! New adventures are ahead!'" said Dena. "He had worked so very hard for his four years that this was just a wonderful addition and a way to celebrate his accomplishments!"
And just as a gender reveal is only a first step in the adventure of parenthood, the college reveal is only a precursor to the real transition of going to college.
"He ultimately chose a college out of state, which was for me as a mother harder to accept," said Dena. "But he absolutely loves where he is, and it is the right fit. Seeing him there and flourishing warms my heart in so many ways. He has found his new home and a family there."