Parents have goals, dreams, and aspirations for their children. There are always questions about how much or little help parents should provide to their student as they navigating the college search and admissions processes. It is stressful and daunting but there are ways to reduce the stress and assist your student through the process.
Take a deep breath (several) & be patient
This is a huge step for your student toward adulthood against the backdrop of a myriad of activities. From school papers, exams, tests, activities and the social media world, your student will experience a roller coast of emotions about not being smart enough or not getting into any college or university. Be encouraging. Help them stay focused on their present but also the great opportunities that lay ahead in college and beyond.
Help your student take ownership of the process.
The college search and application processes are difficult and some of the most important experiences that parents will share with their students. There is a balance between providing support/guidance and taking control of the entire process. Parents need to remember it is their student going to college. Let your student take the lead on identifying colleges to visit, and completing their applications. Help them stay organized and excited about going to college
Be the Voice of reason to keep things on track
There is a fine line between providing too much input and none. Helping your student be realistic about their college lists is important. Helping your student create a balanced college list based on their academic abilities, interests and career goals will go a long way. Being realistic and positive during the process will help your student gain confidence in their application and prospects for the future as a college student.
The key throughout the process is communication. Stay in touch with your student about timelines & deadlines for each aspect of the application process. This will be critical if your student may need extra time in developing essays or is a procrastinator and needs a push. Knowing the timelines will also be helpful if you need to provide information for portions of the application for financial aid. During this busy and stressful times, patience and a calming voice can go a long way to encourage and support your student. Parents should also spend time staying plugged into the changing college admissions and higher education landscape through blogs, social media, and news sites. Understanding the broader college environment may help shape the discussions you have with your student.
Embrace the Moment!
This is one of the most exciting times in a student and families lives. Embrace each part of the college search and selection processes. Through the stress and strain of campus visits, essays, standardized testing and the wait for a decision, stay positive about the future. Capture the moments with photos, videos and talk with your students about their future. There is a college out there for students of all abilities. Finding the college that is the best fit will be quite an amazing experience.