College 'reveal' parties: A bit of fun or peak self-obsession?

Move aside gender reveals - college reveals are here
Move aside gender reveals - college reveals are here Photo: Facebook

If you're the parent of a teen you might have found yourself thinking recently, "What a shame I didn't have the chance to reveal my baby's sex with a serving of blue lasagne, a smoke billowing burnout, or an out-of-control wild fire."

And while that, tragically, may well be the case, wipe away those tears for I have an alternative - and it's even better (worse).

Introducing the 'college reveal' which, would you believe, is an actual trend steadily growing in popularity on social media.

Using some of our favourite gender reveal methods, parents and teens are sharing which college offer they've accepted - and it's as extra as you can imagine.

There are cupcakes (and YouTube monologues)

Balloons:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Charleston Balloon (@charlestonballoon) on

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Hannah (@hannahmarieeeeeeeee) on

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Cakes:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A college reveal cake! NIU or University of Iowa?

A post shared by Creative Cakes By Bre ✌🏼💕🧁 (@creativecakesbybre) on

Smoke bombs:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Autumn Moon Portraits (@autumnmoonportraits) on

And full blown college reveal parties with a touch of everything: ​

Crass? Harmless? A bit of fun?

Like gender reveals, they're proving divisive. Over on parenting website Grown and Flown, Marybeth Brock, mum of two college students, describes them as "a logical jump" from gender reveal parties.

Would we say it's logical? That might be a stretch. But as Ms Brock continues, "If someone can afford to go over-the-top for this event – that is obviously important to them – who are we to roll our eyes and share that we think it's just ridiculous?"

That said, she also points out the obvious downside of these OTT events.

"It's easy to acknowledge that this trend is yet another opportunity for people to be a tad insensitive. First of all, the indulgence of a college reveal party that is posted online is another in-your-face example of the disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots.

"Some students are lucky enough to get into the college of their choice. And I use the word "luck" very deliberately. With the ultra-competitive college admissions process today, at many of the schools that receive thousands of more applicants than they can admit, ability will only get you so far. It's a lottery situation and if your kid gets accepted, they are simply lucky."

Meanwhile, the team at The Parenting Roundabout Podcast labelled it "braggy."

The trend doesn't appear to have made it downunder yet and whether or not it catches on remains to be seen.

Our university process is, of course, very different but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't see  "IT'S A GAP YEAR" printed on balloons let loose from a cardboard box, or an "I'm going to Monash" cupcake reveal in the future. To each their own, really.

But if we've learnt anything over the past few weeks, it might be best to leave lasagne out of it.