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IT’S COLLEGE application time, and I don’t...

KERRY MADDEN's latest book is "Gentle's Holler" (Viking, 2005).

IT’S COLLEGE application time, and I don’t care who the Dodgers just signed. Whoever he is, he’s got a job. So where to begin on surviving this process?

1. Make the senior stop checking dodgers.com and davidbowie.com and begin checking preferred college websites for looming deadlines. They do loom.

2. Remind the senior that rock stardom is not a major.

3. Command him (yet again) to shut down dodgers.com and davidbowie.com. Insist that he look at the NYU, Emerson, Bard, UCLA, USC, UC-Santa Cruz, Sarah Lawrence, Chapman and Whittier websites and begin to imagine a life for himself.

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4. Do not believe him for a moment when he tells you that he knows the deadlines. Double- and triple-check because “supplements” to the applications also have deadlines -- often the very same day. He will not know this. You will save yourself the five-minutes-to-spare mad dash to the post office at LAX that stays open until 11 p.m.

5. When the senior hangs with friends you find less than ambitious, belt out, “Quit IM’ing now!” Shudder at your impersonation of an old crone. Wait, it’s no longer an impersonation. Simply shudder.

6. Smile politely at the all-knowing parents who rattle off the value of “early admission stats” or the ones who tell you that UCs rarely accept any California students without a stellar GPA. Oh, 3.4? Forget it.

7. Get out your credit card to pay those application fees and learn, much to your surprise, that although it’s a one-time application for all 10 UCs, it’s $60 per school. Tell yourself the fees are cheap compared to what’s coming down the road, and let it rip.

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8. Remind the senior, once again, to please find out how or where he can take his health class, the last required class that he has put off taking -- and will not graduate without taking.

9. Applications are due right before or after the holidays. Eggnog, anyone? Or how about Oprah’s recipe for a pomegranate martini? That might do the trick.


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