Diving into the world of college admissions is an exciting time for you and your college-bound child. They are starting to see their academic goals and career ambitions come to fruition. As a parent or guardian, you’re excited for them and proud that they’ve decided to continue their education at the collegiate level.
Most parents and guardians aren’t sure what their role should be in the college admissions process. The college admissions process is going to be completely different from any decision you’ve made for or with your child, so it’s important to start the process by setting some guidelines for yourself.
What should your role be when your child is going through the process, and how much responsibility should you take on?
1. Position yourself as a guide and encourage your child to take ownership. Now is the time to take a step back and let your child take ownership of his or her college admissions process. Having you close by to guide when needed will be a good learning opportunity for your child.
2. Learn about financial aid options together. Financial aid can be confusing to a soon-to-be college freshman, and often depends upon their parent’s or guardian’s financial status or tax records. Make sure you and your child are on the same page by reviewing the same financial aid resources and by helping with any information needed in order to complete applications.
3. Rely on the appropriate counselors. If your child has a college admissions counselor at their high school, they are a valuable resource you should take full advantage of early on. They will provide credible resources and will help you navigate the process.
4. Ask open-ended questions. Help your child decide on colleges or a major by asking open-ended questions. Doing so guides their thought process and may lead them to think about factors they otherwise would not have considered.
5. Stay calm. The college admissions process is long and involves taking in a lot of information. Going through admissions tasks for multiple colleges can easily become overwhelming. That’s normal. In the end, everything will be ok.
The important thing is that your child is able to apply to the colleges that will help them realize their personal and career goals and provide them with the educational, cultural and social experiences they desire.