I am sharing a series of seven thoughts from the Making Caring Common (MCC) report, “Turning the Tide II” that addresses character in college admissions. This is specifically for parents. If you have any questions for Glenn Manning, Senior Project Manager for MCC, let me know and I’ll ask!
 Keep the focus on your teen.
“In an effort to give their kids everything, these parents often end up robbing them of what counts.”
 Follow your ethical GPS.
“The college admissions process often tests both parents’ and teens’ ethical character.”
 Use the admissions process as an opportunity for ethical education.
Students may “struggle with how much they can embellish their applications and ‘play the game’ without compromising their own authenticity and integrity.”
 Be authentic.
When you are craving chicken tinga enchiladas with sour cream sauce in Texas, you have to decide between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican food. There are a handful of differences.
Tex-Mex uses sweet corn, authentic Mexican uses whole cobs.
Tex-Mex uses yellow cheese, authentic Mexican uses white cheese.
Tex-Mex uses cumin in spicy dishes, authentic Mexican uses epazote and coriander, among others.
Being authentic means you are being genuine. There is no doubt about the accuracy of your claims.
The Bible teaches us to "be honest and speak the truth" (Proverbs 22:21).
Even as students are applying to colleges without having to submit test scores, a few are adding ingredients to their applications that are not authentic. It is also called exaggeration.
We must remember that “whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out” (Proverbs 10:9).
It is challenging for students to be real and authentic in a social media world.
It is up to us as parents to have “authentic, honest conversations with [our] teens during the college admissions process.”
However, we send mixed messages when we want them to be happy or attend the best college they can when we’ve already made a decision based on our budget.
The Making Caring Common authors share that parents should try to “understand the many school and community factors that may be influencing their teen’s college considerations so that they can talk to their teens in ways that acknowledge these realities.”
These are tough conversations.
Here are two tips.  During your family walk tonight or around dessert, ask your teen if you are sending mixed messages. Then find out what they are feeling about the messages at school and from colleges.
 Discuss your feelings. College planning is EMOTIONAL! Don’t let yours get in the way of theirs. Since they have to own the decision, they need to be confident.
Simon Sinek said, “Authenticity is when you say and do the things you actually believe.”
Together, let’s work on our authenticity.
Through student ministry and educational consulting (career and college planning), I have enjoyed guiding teenagers to discover their higher calling.