27 July 2010

The Letter the Colleges Won't See

I know you're getting a lot of applications from students with excellent job records and a number of extracurricular activities as well as good grades. I'm asking you to consider my jobless son who doesn't do much at school after hours anyway. The boxes on your application form don't give us a space to adequately explain what's going on here.

His brother has severe mental illness, and from one day to the next we don't know what is going to happen. Whether it will be a "good" day or whether the police will be by. (Applicant teen) has had a friend over on perhaps four occasions during the last five years. Please note that these visits occurred when his brother was in the mental hospital. If nothing else, it would be nice if you could admit him so that he'd have a place he'd "have" to go, and he wouldn't feel obligated to give up his young adulthood as he's given up his teen years.

Mental illness is one of those odd things. Some days, his brother is well. At other times, he can snap with little warning and become quite violent. This makes it impossible for his parents to schedule work times for Applicant teen or be available to drive him to work. We simply cannot leave a raging teen in the house. Unfortunately, things are not under control even with medication and much outside support.

It is true that on more than one occasion, (Applicant teen) has been deliberately disobedient to his mother. He has stood between his mother and his brother when his brother was violent. He refused to go downstairs, to just get out of the situation and let Mom deal with it. I hope you consider that this means Applicant teen knows when to follow the rules and when to disobey for what he sees as the greater good. Though I still wish Applicant teen had obeyed without question.

Applicant teen is like a third parent to my children. Many of the younger children have special needs as well. Applicant teen watches them so that I can homeschool his younger siblings during the summer as well as on those many unplanned dramatic events during which we must have the mental health workers and/or police over. He also is in total charge of our home and the children for about a four hour stretch during the weekly visits the adults must make to a mental health center for his brother.

He really doesn't get much thanks or respite himself. I hope that you, College Very Far Away From Here, will consider his application and give him such a great scholarship that he leaves and does not come home until Christmas break (if then). I don't know how we'll manage without him, but I know he needs to leave.

I understand that in sending him to your school, I run a good risk of his realizing that he has been overburdened all these years and that his family is messed-up. I love him enough that I'm ready to let him go anyway.

I don't suppose you have a scholarship for people who have been affected by mental illness? Can't hurt to ask. Thanks! :)

12 comments:

  1. Oh, Mrs. C. You break my heart.

    And you should send that letter - a dose of real life can't hurt the admissions board.

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  2. I know there are scholarships for things like "being tall" (...no, I didn't get one). I think you make an excellent case.

    ~Luke

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  3. Hugs girl !! Your son is a hero in my eyes, helping his family. But I understand that he needs to live his own life.

    I hope all his dreams come true. I would so send that letter in if I was in your situation. Life lessons are worth so much sometimes !

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  4. Applicant teen has an excellent chance of becoming the most wonderful human being. He has learnt lessons of tolerance, servanthood, mercy, graciousness & understanding denied most teens & you can be rightly proud of him. PS, could I borrow him some time, do you think for my Ditz?

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  5. IN his application you should add a letter detailing all that P has done to help raise his own siblings and help his parents. It is worth SO MUCH MORE than any other things he might have done as a 'normal' teenager!!!
    P is an exceptional young man and I hope he gets into a very good college, he deserves to.

    {{{HUGE HUGS}}} to P from us here in New Zealand.

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  6. Ganeida and Chris couldn't have said it better. He has learned so many truly valuable things that so many kids never learn. I think you should send the letter or a letter like it, what could it hurt? You are amazing in your love for your children and your unselfishness. It would be so hard to see him go, but I am so in awe of your willingness to let him do just that. Love you and so proud of you P!!!

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  7. I second, third, fourth, etc., everything everyone else said, because I'm lazy like that. :)

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  8. if i had an extra wad of $10,000 bills laying around i'd love to sponsor him!...sorry.

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  9. Mrs. C, I so hope he gets his scholarship and all that his heart desires.

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  10. I think he should include his circumstances on the application. When I was in high school, we lived on a small Navy base in Newfoundland, Canada. That meant no jobs except babysitting. That meant a limited range of ECAs. I put those extenuating circumstances on my application and managed to get scholarships and admitted to the college of choice.

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  11. Will definately make great fodder for an excellent admission letter.

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  12. It cant hurt to send it. ((hugs)) to you my friend.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)