This is a moment you’ve dreamed about ever since your child started school. Today marks the beginning of his or her college admissions campaign. This can be an exciting, gratifying journey or a confusing and stressful experience – for students, mothers and fathers.
By understanding and managing their emotions, parents can help rather than hinder their child’s college campaign. Here are 4 tips from the experts at ArchAdmissions to consider when deciding what role to play in your son or daughter’s college application process:
- Manage your aspirations. Every parent wants only the best for his or her offspring. Because they understand the value of a blue-chip education and the highly competitive nature of today’s world, moms and dads may be tempted to push for schools that are clearly beyond the admissions potential of their child. With the best of intentions, some parents consider this as a do-over for their own admissions campaign. Not only can that mindset lead to denied applications but it can keep a child from even considering other excellent and more attainable colleges. For these reasons, getting the input of a professional admissions consultant can be vital when building the target list of schools.
- Share your insights. No one knows a student longer or better than his or her parents. The achievements and challenges of childhood and teenage years can be valuable content for college applications, recommendations and interviews. So, serve an active resource for your child during the early stage of the application process when he or she starts to build a convincing case for admission. Developmental moments that only a parent can recall can add depth and authenticity to an application.
- Express your support. Applying to college is a first-time experience that can feel overwhelming to a student. Complying with detailed instructions, feeling subtle pressure from competing classmates, and striving to maintain or improve current grades can be emotionally exhausting. So, a parental pat on the back goes a long way to sustaining a student’s focus and confidence. If you see signs of confusion of discouragement during the application process, ask why and offer your moral support. At the same time, avoid the temptation to step in and actually produce application content for your child.
- Remember your limitations. Most parents who are college grads themselves went through the application process at least 20 years ago, probably longer. It’s a different world for today’s high school students. Most parents lack the current experience and expertise to take the lead role in advising their college-bound child on maximizing his or her chances for success. If you believe that working with a professional admissions consultant could be beneficial, then selecting one sooner rather than later will pay huge dividends for your student. Then, step back confidently and let the expert guide and support your child.
Moms and dads have a massive stake – both emotional and financial – in the outcome of their child’s college admissions campaign. Choosing how and when to get involved is a decision that can directly influence the outcome. The 4 suggestions above should be helpful and actionable for parents who want to facilitate the application process and, in turn, improve the final results.