Five Don’ts for Parents in the College Admissions Process
College admissions has changed a lot since parents applied and students and their families are often unsure of what role everyone should play during this exciting (and sometimes confusing) time. Here are some tips to keep the peace and perspective.
Don’t write essays or edit too much of them for your child’s applications.
College admissions officers can smell a parent’s contribution from miles away. This will only hurt your child! You may think you’re being helpful, or doing them a favor, but make sure your child writes his own essay and that his own voice shines through.
Don’t take over on the college visits.
Sit in the back row and let your child sit front and center during the information session. You can assist your student by taking photos on the tour while your child asks questions.
Don’t push a college onto your child.
Just because you went there, dreamed of going there, or heard great things about a particular school, doesn’t make it the perfect choice for your student. Your child will prosper most at the institution of his or her choice. The right fit for you may not be the right fit for your child!
Don’t make this a “we” process.
As a parent, you are significantly involved in your child’s college admissions process. You may have paid for standardized tests, accompanied your child on college visits, and will most likely be paying for some, if not all of college. However, your child will get him or herself into college and he or she needs to be empowered to do this. When you say, “we took the SAT and it was tough” or “we are applying to Brown University,” it not only sounds weird, it takes away the accomplishment from your child. It disempowers him. This process is about your child. You should serve as your child’s cheerleader, encouraging him through every step of the process. In all other respects, be as “hands-off” as possible; let your child take control of his own destiny.
You don’t want to add to college admissions stress. Remain calm and levelheaded. Your child will go to college. Ultimately students end up where they are supposed to be and they are usually happy and successful. Remember that college is what one makes of it.
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