Here is my video response to the question.
Parents should help students stay organized, stay on top of deadlines, and help with the scholarship searches. They should also participate in the decision process–giving advice and guidance toward the final selections.
The part parents play in the college search and application process is always a very “sticky” issue. Students usually want to, and should, take the initiative in making the decisions related to their college applications. Parents will, of course, be involved with determining realistic financial parameters and filling out some of the necessary financial aid application forms. (With regard to determining financial parameters, the possibility of financial aid and scholarships should be taken into consideration.) Parents should also feel free to offer suggestions of possible schools for the student’s consideration, but every effort should be made not to take over and steer the entire process. If a parent finds him/herself saying, “WE’re applying to _____________;” (fill in the blank), that parent is WAY too involved in the application process. Even if the student lets the parent take over, that doesn’t mean it is the right thing to do.
The college application process may affect the dynamics of the relationship within families. Depending on the type of student and parent involved, the parent may be involved with the application to a certain extent. For example, college apps include important data such as dates, addresses and the student’s social security number. Parents may be a reliable storehouse of this information. Some applications such as the Common App ask about parents’ schooling. Another area where parents can help is in the proofreading of the application, including the essays. Even the best authors benefit from the services of good proofreaders, and they might include parents. Also, if a student is applying to the same college attended by his or her parent, that student is known as a legacy. Legacy status could provide a competitive edge in the admissions process, although the degree to which it does depends on the particular college.
Most of us do not live in the make beleive world of “Gossip Girl” or “NYC Prep” (a show that reminds us that money really does not buy happiness) or even the highly acclaimed film Legally Blonde. While some people prefer to watch characters who live a lifestyle so far removed from their own, when the program ends they remember they live in reality.
The best way that a parent can help their child is to let their student ‘drive the college process’. If a student wants to go to college, they will put forth the effort and do the work themselves, which includes the search and the application process. Parents can assist with college visit planning and acting as a sounding board when students need to bounce ideas around. Otherwise, parents should be hands-off and encourage their child to do the work.
Your child needs to be the one who actively drives the process. If they have trouble getting their applications and essays completed then how successful will they be at college on their own? Now is not the time to make excuses and “baby” them by filling out their applications and/or writing their essays. Your job is to chauffeur them to college visits and try to wait to hear their reactions before jumping in and telling them how much you loved/hated a particular college campus! You should encourage them to reflect deeply on what type of environment would suit them best. Be honest as to what you can really afford to spend and how far from home you might be comfortable with. But allow them this opportunity for some independence here. Show them that you trust them, within boundaries, to make good choices. Read and comment on their essays, but do NOT rewrite them for your kids, just because you think that you could do a better job! And most importantly, allow them to take on the risk of failure. That will make them so much more resilient for their future.
I always like to give parents a supportive role in the process. Mom and Dad can help to keep the process organized. You are also essential for helping with the college visits–those road trips can be prime family time if they are well thought out with fun activities included to alleviate stress. You can be the official photographer (too many colleges in too few days tend to run together) but stay in the background when it comes to asking questions during the information sessions. Remember that the student should be invested in the process!
Parents will be best served if they view their role in the application process as that of support person. The whole application experience is a “first” for their child, so with that will come a certain level of anxiety. The skills the the student is developing during the admissions cycle will serve them well in college. Often the best thing a parent can do is hire an independent educational consultant to help them maintain perspective.
The best way parents can help students with the college application process is by allowing the student to make it their own. While parents obviously have a perspective and may have experiences to share, there have been vast changes since we went through it and as a result our experiences are of limited value. But more importantly, the process is about the child and their future, and the best assistance a parent can offer is support and a faith in their children’s decision making ability. With the ultimate goal of the process being to achieve the best fit for the student, it must be about them Parents can and should serve as sounding boards and where there are financial considerations, they owe it to their children to be honest about what that means, but ultimately the best way help is not to. Be there for them, but let it be their process.
most parents are out of schools for years and did not have the updates about currently school setting and changing enviorment.
they normally upgrade their knowledge during the college visits and improve themselves online. the best way to help the student during the application process is hire the right counselor.
A very tough one. So many parents and children clash when it comes to college applications and choosing colleges. Parents are anxious that everything is done correctly and sometimes they want to “make” their child apply to certain colleges. Parents can assist by being supportive, but not intrusive. It is the student who is going to college, not the parents. Students should have their essays and writing proofed by teachers, not parents (unless the parent is very objective and knows how to write like a high school student). Students must fill out the application, but it is okay for parents to check it before submission…but only for misspellings, capitalization, and correct information. Parents need to talk to their child about the college application process, and reach a decision about how it will be handled before the applications begin. Compromising beforehand will make life easier for all involved.
Parents need to be there as a support system. Remind your child of deadlines and what they need to do, follow up if things are missing or need to get submitted quickly and make sure that you keep encouraging them through the process. I feel that students need to take the initiative to do the application, essays, requesting letters of recommendation and calling the college to ask questions themselves. They need to learn that they are responsible for getting these things done and not their parents. When parents get too involved and end of doing everything for their child, that child is not going to grow in maturity and understand the expectations that are required of them to meet.
Most of the best things a parent can do should take place prior to the applicant process. All parents can take an interest in and be supportive of their child’s goals. Helping them seek out opportunities to explore interests in further depth is great. Parents who have been to college can talk to their kids about what their experience was like and how they selected a college. Parents can also make a point of showing their kids colleges of varying types. A visit to a major city like Boston or New York can mix in college visits with other activities. This will all increase the students own internal motivation for the strenuous application process.
For the most parents should allow the student to complete the application by themselves. Admission officers can tell when a parent has completed the application and that will sometimes give that officer the idea that the student didn’t really want to apply there. However, parents can be very helpful because they love to brag on their sons or daughters and this can often be hard for the student to do themselves. So parents can tell the student all of the great things they have done in their high school careers and the parent will often remember things that the student had forgotten or didn’t think was important.
The best help you can provide is to be positive and encouraging. Offer additional resources, like tutoring, only when needed but early enough to make a difference. Give your child the confidence to make the best decision for him/her. Be realistic about your child’s options and help them to be realistic as well. No need to apply to schools that they have zero probability of getting into. Be very clear early in the process about any financial issues that may limit school choices. There is no need for your child to be disappointed late in the process.
Be supportive throughout the process. This is an extremely difficult time for your student. There is a lot of pressure not only academically in school, but also from their peers. Everything they hear during their Senior Year is about college. “Where are you applying? Have you started your application yet? Where have you visited? Oh, did your hear that Mary got into such and such school?” Everything that they hear is college. As a parent, you don’t want to be another nagging voice. Be supportive, but don’t do the application for them. Let your student know that you are there to help them if they need it. Make sure that they know that you are willing to take them to a visit. Set ground rules that college “stuff” is not to be talked about in the car or at the dinner table.
Parents can help students with the application process in many ways. They can help by providing a supportive and quiet environment for students to complete applications. They can help by being present to assist the student when he/she has difficulty understanding a question or requirement. They can also review the students application prior to his or her submission.
Parents can help students with the application process by being informed themselves, getting their kids started early on, and providing basic “touchpoint” structure to the process. Micromanaging is not necessary nor advisable, since it is toxic for the parent-teen relationship and does not improve the student’s application as much as the parents may think it does.
The best thing a parent can do for their student is to help with organization! There are so many parts to the application process and similar to many tasks in life, it can easily become overwhelming. When it does, students tend to shut down and the process stalls. That is exactly when the frustration start to evolve between the parent and the student. To prevent this from happening, my suggestion is for the parent to help in the planning and organization of the steps that need to be taken for each college application. This is typically tedious and the part that students hate the most. By taking away this burden in the process, it allows parents to feel they are being helpful and allows the student to focus on more important things such as the creation of a meaningful essay, maintaining their grades and doing well in their senior year and just enjoying the whole experience. Their are many other ways in which a parent might be helpful depending on the situation and their relationship with their child or the students particular weaknesses in completing such a process but helping with the overall organization always seems to be a winner for the families with which I work.
The college application process is a breaking away moment in a young person’s life. The application has to owned by the student. Parents can help by lending a supportive ear and being a sounding board for the trials and tribulations of the process. It is the young person who is going to be attending the college and the application needs to show the essence of the student. The student is the only one that can write the essay. The voice of the essay has to come from the student. It is a hard moment for the young person/parent relationship but it is natural. An IEC can help make this transition less stressful.
By reviewing all work for errors, either grammatical or otherwise. Stay in the background, but always be available for your help & support.
Although students need to be in the “drivers seat” during the college selection process, parents are a part of the team! Since there are so many changes occuring to the college admissions and financial climate, it is impossible for a student to keep up with all of the information flooding them. Parents can help by keeping abreast and identifying reliable sources of information.
Students should be the CEO of the process. Students manage the process and make decisions. Parents serve an important role as key investors, as such they should outline expectations and parameters at the beginning of the process and then turn the reigns over. Investors shouldn’t be entangled in day to day operations.
I entered this same answer for another question which had a quite similar formulation.
Parents can take students on campus tours, ask questions of guides and admissions officers when on tour. They may also help the student proofread the application and provide missing details. Parents will also need to file the FAFSA and/or CSS Profile with sensitive financial information.
The best way for parents to help wtih the application process is to be involved and supportive while at the same time listening to their child’s thoughts and concerns. Take your child on college visits but allow him or her to ask the questions and form an opinion. Encourage them to make notes after every visit and ask about their impressions. College tuition is very expensive and should be calmly discussed in terms of what the family’s finances allow. Help your student brainstorm about possible essay topics but let him or her write it themselves. Make comments on the essay rather than do rewrites. Ask you child how you can help but don’t take over the process.
Parents should be partners with their child’s college counselor in the college application process. However, it’s important for parents to support, rather than drive the college process. One tip is for parents to agree to one time each week to talk about college and stick to that schedule. I recommend Sunday nights.
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