Are you a parent of a college-bound teen?
Do you feel left in the dark about the college search process?
You’re not alone
Please know you are not alone. Many of the parents who call us are experiencing that same feeling. High schools and colleges traditionally place most of the college search process and responsibility on your teen. And yes, your teen should take responsibility for their college search; that said, our belief is that there are important roles for parents in process and I’m not speaking of the illegal tactics that came to light in the college admission scandal the government nicknamed Operation Varsity Blues.College planning should start early. It doesn’t have to be hard core, but starting in the second half of junior year puts many students at a disadvantage.
Admissions is getting more competitive
There are multiple signs that the admission process is getting more competitive. Some factors are:
- The ability of more students to apply to many more schools because of online applications
- Colleges closing and merging due to a lack of funding
- International students applying to US colleges and universities who began their process in grade school
Information on each of the colleges and the process is plentiful, but parsing through it takes time that many families don’t have. Other factors:
- The lack of college counselors at many public schools
- Misinformation about the admission process and financial aid
- Lack of resources for parent education on admission and financial aid
- Students busy with day-to-day coursework, athletics, work, family responsibilities, standardized test prep and more.
Parent roles & responsibility
In our experience, it doesn’t matter how successful you are as a parent, business owner or corporate executive or how wealthy you are–you probably have important questions.
With proper knowledge and planning everything doesn’t have to be confusing or last minute. For example:
- Understanding how your high school works with regard to transcripts and recommendations helps prevent last minute runs to the high school office and late admission submissions
- Not scheduling family events and vacations during prime admission essay writing and submission time will lower the stress
- If you are using an independent college counselor (IEC), understand how they work. Although students might think nothing of pulling an all-nighter, your student should respect that texting with the IEC at 11:00pm is not responsible.
Note about Campus Tours as A Parent
As a parent, you do need to be careful of the questions you ask. A campus walking tour is not the place to ask about sexual activity, drug use on campus or personal questions of the tour guid! You are bound to embarrass the tour guide and your teen, resulting in your teen not speaking with you, nor wanting to go with you on additional tours.
Are you going through the college search process or about to embark on an admission journey with your son or daughter? Please comment below with experiences, lessons learned and questions you have. We’d love to hear from you.