When you’re applying to private elementary schools in Los Angeles, just about anything can rattle you during the admissions process. A too-hard stare from a school official. A breezy, off-hand remark from another mom. Second thoughts about a written application you’ve already sent in. Pretty much anything can send you into a tailspin.
For me, it was a mom at my daughter’s preschool who was really intimidating. She had a son, Jack, a year ahead of my daughter. She was knee-deep in the admissions process and would walk through the school with an enormous binder filled with school admissions information. Understandably, she was determined to get her child into the best school she could. She talked about nothing else.
When the admissions letters came out, Jack was accepted at Oakwood School. The intimidating thing about it (and really, the irritating thing) was that whenever any of us asked her for tips on what she did to get her child into this very competitive school, her response was:
“Jack got Jack into Oakwood”
You’ve got to be kidding me! This was the most smug, unhelpful answer possible. It was completely intimidating, possibly by design. Again and again, this mom would repeat this statement. She would never offer anything beyond it. No helpful advice. No words of wisdom. Nothing. Any words of wisdom were conspicuously absent.
The preschool whisper campaign kicked into high gear. Her kid took on the status of a child prodigy, a legend at the school. Jack took a starring role in way too many of our conversations. We didn’t know what to make of what this mom was telling us.