Top 5 Tips for Parents with College Bound Students

To Parents of Juniors/Seniors 

As I turn the calendar page to October, I recall that fall is for…pumpkins, sweaters, football, and phone calls from FRANTIC parents of college bound juniors and seniors. Even those parents who are historically disciplined about planning and getting in front of deadlines – many now find themselves in full panic mode. Take some deep cleansing breaths, and consider these Top 5 tips:

  1. Be upfront with your child about any resource or financial constraints that may limit college selection; however, be aware of financial aid and scholarship opportunities that may make more schools within reach than you might imagine.
  2. Take your students to visit different college campuses (even those in your home town) and assist them in articulating what they like and don’t like about each.  The more campuses you visit, the more your student will be able to determine which schools are a good fit.
  3. This is your child’s college experience, not yours. Let me say that again – this is your child’s college experience, not yours!  While you can certainly make suggestions, and most certainly impose some restrictions if you are paying the tuition, always put your child’s learning style and college priorities at the center of the decision.  Your child may not attend your alma mater, get over it.
  4. Be realistic about your child’s chances of acceptance at various colleges. While it may be tempting to apply to a large number of stretch schools, “just in case,” a series of denial letters can have a detrimental impact on a young person’s self-esteem and confidence.
  5. Avoid the urge to write your child’s college essays.  A middle aged adult writes a distinctly different essay than a teenager, and I can assure you (from experience) that essay readers can discern the difference.
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