Harvard is Less Expensive than Ohio State

I need to go for a walk.

When I get back,  I‘ll dial the number  to the Admissions Advisors at the National Junior Youth Leadership Conference, sit on hold once again for an hour or more waiting to talk to someone who can help me enroll my daughter in the program.  Last night, I did, and learned a few interesting things.  First, that when the business closes for the day on a Friday afternoon, and you’ve been on hold for over an hour, you are out of luck.   After an hour of listening to some guy named Chuck prattle on during the entire hold period, from beginning to end of his presentation and through the beginning again, the original recorded operator came back on to say she is very sorry that they were unable to take my call, and to leave yet another voice mail message.  Nice.

They have this really cheesy 45 minute long interview to listen to.  This message is supposed to assuage their guilt in my long time on hold.  They even say so at the beginning.

“If you are hearing this now, it means you are on one of those horrible hold queues,” Chuck says.  “We’re very sorry, as we realize how valuable your time is.  We tried to think of something we could do for you to make this a positive experience….” Blah, blah, blah.

It turns out Chuck is a motivational speaker interviewing a scholarship expert.   He is a motivational speaker, I can tell, because of his voice and cadence.  It sounds slick and the calculated pauses meant to rock me into submission are so steady, I could be on a cruise ship to motivational wonderland.  This is no spontaneous interview—the questions and answers are so leading, so polished, its clearly been rehearsed…and apparently all for my benefit.

I listen out of one ear through the whole thing while I work.  I’ve switched to speaker phone, and continue to work on Photoshopping  pictures for a story I’m working on while I wait.  I learn a Harvard education has a higher sticker price than an Ohio State education,  but the scholars walking out of Harvard typically have about one third as much student loan debt to pay back than the OSU scholar because of the percentage of scholarships awarded.  Interesting.    If I weren’t also trying to work while I’m on hold, I might take notes.

Despite the aforementioned point, I’m pretty annoyed at the whole voicemail message, and becoming concerned that my daughter is going to lose her scholarship to their program if I can’t get her enrolled in time.  But, I suppose, if nothing else comes of this, I now know that Harvard is not out of reach for her.

Why do I subject myself to this?  Because I want good things for my daughter.  I want to encourage her to reach for something higher whenever she can.  She was nominated for this.  She worked hard for this.  She wrote essays for scholarships.  We fundraised together, her helping to wash 20 dogs while I stood on a corner waving and smiling at traffic directing them to our dog wash.  She deserves to not only have a parent who tucks her in at night and tells her good job when she comes home with a good report card, but one who will be her advocate and help her reach for something beyond average.

I’ve checked the NJYLC Facebook page.  I’m not the only one having a problem.  How they finally deal with this problem intrigues me.  After all, they are a leadership conference company.  How will they demonstrate their expertise in leadership to the parents of the kids they hope to serve?   How do I demonstrate mine, as I wait?


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