How can parents help students with the application process?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

How can parents help students with the application process?

Cat McManus
Assistant Dean of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

How can parents help students with the application process?

Here is my video response to the question.

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

How can parents help students with the application process?

Here is my video response to the question.

Pam Proctor
Author The College Hook

How can parents help students with the application process?

Here is my video response to the question.

Rod Bugarin
Former Admissions Officer Columbia, Brown, and Wesleyan University

How can parents help students with the application process?

Here is my video response to the question.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

Parents and the Application

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.

Kiersten Murphy
Executive Director and Founder Murphy College Consultants LLC

Let your student drive the college process

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.

Ellen erichards@ellened.com
Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Allow college students the opportunity to bask in the glory of surviving the application process

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. US News and World Report published an article titled “7 Reasons Why College is So Expensive.” The article offers a solid survey of the costs associated with operating a college or university. The authors include the effects of government spending on public institutions as well as the "ebbs and flows" of the economy, which impacts all realms of higher education, including private colleges. The article points out that those in the market for a college education (that would be many high school students and some people who took time off before returning to school) may be facing "sticker shock" for the price of a college education. It might be easy to get confused about your goals: are you buying a car or seeking an education? Students today must not only be all-around high achievers in order to gain a coveted spot in college, they must also be smart shoppers who, as the article states, "find not only the best academic programs fro them but also a price they're comfortable paying." Students who are embarking on their exciting journey to college in less than a month have so much to be proud of and so much to look forward to. Yes, many of them will contend with financial hardships along the way, but has always been and will always be the case. We evoke the stories of heroes whose work ethic carried them much further than at trust fund ever could. In addition, far too many college students will also learn about student loans and interest rates, but again, many people have done the same in order to pursue their dream of higher education. Eventually the loans get paid. The country is in a recession and, as the media constantly reminds us, times are tough for many families. Why, then, has the College Board, a dot com "non-profit" organization that drains high school students of money while simultaneously exerting undue pressure on them with the myriad of tests that supposedly gauge their "college worthiness" (see article that reveals unknown truths about the College Board), taken the opportunity to advise students about how to prepare for college? Of course, the list perpetuates the consumerism many people are starting to associate the with the College Board. On the College Board website one can find an "off to college checklist" that offers college students a checklist with the notation, "Print this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your first year at college. Each person's needs are different, so tailor this list to suit your requirements." Yes, College Board, everyone's needs ARE different. This is precisely the reason why students should have a choice about which assessments to take (the ACT is a wonderful alternative, regardless what many test prep companies assert) and why they should find their OWN ROAD to college instead of using the computerized, fee based system offered by the College Board. The truth is so many high school counselors are good at their jobs if students just seek their help. The best counselors will refer students to reputable private consultants if they recognize a student's needs are beyond the scope of their ability (a college counselor's workload should never be underestimated). In addition, the authentic and free online information is practically endless for those who take advantage of it. A message for all first-year college students: as far as what to bring with you to college, ask your friends who just finished their first year, ask your older siblings, ask your parents and rely on your own instincts about which items are necessary. Ignore any suggestions that carry with them a financial burden and add stress to your last few weeks before college. Following your own intuition will serve as a small step towards independence. At the very least free yourself of the conforming "lists" that ultimately do not help and in some cases make matters worse, especially if you already face financial stress regarding college. And one more word of advice for college students and money: regardless of how elite your college may or may not be, there will always be someone wealthier, better looking and smarter than you, no matter where you travel or how long your journey lasts. Remain undaunted and refuse to be intimidated. You earned your spot at your college; take advantage of every opportunity for which you have worked so diligently to gain access.

Suzan Reznick
Independent Educational Consultant The College Connection

Parents should plan on playing a supporting role!

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.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Parental Support

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.

王文君 June Scortino
President IVY Counselors Network

self educated parents can help or don't even try

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.