September 6, 2013
Hey Parents! Listen Up!
Parents play an important role in the entire college process. Often times, parents help subsidize some, if not all, of the cost of attending a college or university, and are always there to ask those specific “parent” questions that you as students can’t be bothered with (really mom, did you need to ask the tour guide when the last meningitis outbreak was?)
However, there are instances where parents must take a back seat and allow their sons and daughters to ask the hard questions. Here, we have a compiled a list of “dos and donts” about parenting during the college search and application process:
• Do help your son or daughter understand what they are looking for in a college, reminding them to consider location, size, academic programs, cost/financial aid, etc. Finding a good fit for your specific wants and needs is more important than the cachet of the name.
• Don’t gather all of the information for them! Allow them to contact admission counselors and find out the relevant information for themselves. After all, they will be in college somewhere soon enough, and it is important that they learn to navigate the process themselves.
• Do encourage your sons and daughters to visit college campuses, and come with them on those tours! The best way to get to know a college or university is to make the visit to campus.
• Don’t check your sons and daughters in for campus tours, interviews, receptions, etc. Let them do it! This shows us that they are mature and independent.
• Do remind your sons and daughters that not getting in to their first choice school may seem like the end of the world at that moment, but that things work out and that they will be successful wherever they go as long as they work hard. And, encourage them to transfer if that institution remains at the top of their list even after enrolling somewhere else.
• Don’t fill out their applications for them! We can tell and it reflects poorly on the applicant. We know that these are young adults applying and expect their applications to convey their true voice and style.
So the moral is: find a balance. Realize that your child is about to embark on a life-changing journey and that starting to take ownership of the college application process is a good jumping off point. But, also rest assured that we are here to answer those tough “parent” questions, even if they involve where to send the care package.
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