The college admissions process can be intimidating for many students. Even simply completing an application can include essays, standardized testing, recommendation letters, and resumes. Of course, submitting an application is only the first step. Afterwards, there will be interviews, campus tours or online classroom walkthroughs, financial paperwork, and of course, a decision to be made on what school to attend. With so much to do and so little time, how can parents best guide their children through the college admissions process? We’ve shared some of our most useful tips below.
Remember that you are there to be a guide, not to make the final decision
Deciding which college or university to attend requires a lot of research, careful deliberation, and soul seeking for your child. For many high school students, this will be among the first important choices of their adult lives. While the pressure is high, know that ultimately this decision is not yours, even if you disagree with your child’s choices. To make this decision as easy as possible for children, parents should provide support but never pressure or force students to choose a particular school. Remind your children that you know the choice is theirs and that you will support them no matter what.
Help your child understand financial aid
Teenagers are not used to making financial decisions that will have a long-term impact. While it’s important to allow teenagers to select the college or university that they believe is the best fit for them, it’s your job as parents to help them understand the financial aspects of following their dreams. After receiving possible financial aid packages, parents can help children to compare their financial aid offers and understand how loans will impact their future. Parents should also encourage students to apply for grants and scholarships, assisting them with this paperwork where possible.
Speak with an admissions counselor
When your teen is first looking into potential schools, you’re both going to have a ton of questions regarding the application and admissions process, financial aid options, academic programs, and the college student experience. In order to get a better sense of what the school is like, encourage your child to speak with current students as well as admissions counselors and representatives. Before each meeting, come up with a list of questions you and your teen want to ask as well as things either of you would like to learn more about before making a decision.
Offer your opinion
Even if you don’t want to give it, your child may ask for your opinion. At the end of the day, it’s okay to be open and honest about what school or opportunities you believe would be best for your child as long as you can rationally explain why. Offering up your thoughts doesn’t mean you’re making the decision for your son or daughter, and any wisdom you have may help to guide your teen towards making the best choice.
Looking for additional guidance?
To learn more about how the college admissions process works, reach out to our knowledgeable Admissions team. Our representatives are ready and willing to assist with every step of the process. We can help you and your child sort through your needs and options and take the first steps towards building a successful future!