Summer is here and it’s the perfect time to start looking at and discussing with your child what college they want to go to. If you feel the pressure of applying to a lot of colleges, then your child is feeling this pressure tenth fold. Parents have the best intentions in mind to help their child with the college application process. However, parents make the mistake of overbearing their child with expectation, micromanagement, and what practices worked best for them when they attended college. This article is for parents and how they can help their children get into the college of their dreams and have a smooth application process. We have 3 tips that will help you be at ease and have an incredible experience as your child makes important decisions during college application period.
Tip #1: Set Realistic Expectations
Getting into college is challenging, getting into a top 50 college in the United States is ambitious. With over 18 million students enrolled in colleges, the chances your child get into their dream college is formidable. Students feel the pressure to achieve perfect grades and SAT/ACT scores that they’ll get exhausted and burn out. One of the best things you can do is set your child’s expectation of what success will look like for them. Times have changed and the college application process has become more rigorous and complex. Having unrealistic expectations can lead to worry and stress that will be overwhelming for you and your child. Separating your stress and your child’s stress is the most important step to do first. As a parent it’s easy to combine what you feel with what your child is going through. Change this! What your child is feeling during the college application process is staggering compared to what you may be feeling. Sit down and talk with your child about this. Decide to come to an agreement about the best “fit” school for your child and find resources to help them get into that college.
Tip #2: Think Outside the Box
Next, coming up with creative ways to help your child stand out to the college admission officers will help them stand out. Community service and participation in serving the community will look amazing on their college application. Nowadays, colleges aren’t just looking for students to excel in academics but to push themselves. The top colleges in the country want the best and brightest leaders of the next generation so your child needs to start changing the community around them in order to stand out to college admissions. Have your child start participating in a nonprofit organization such as working at The Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club of America, or Feeding America. If that doesn’t interest them, suggest to your child to use their hobbies to help benefit their school or local community. College Admissions officers read, review, and contemplate over countless applications that your child has to do something extraordinary in order to stand out to them. As a parent, your child is someone special to you so find creative ways for the college application officers to believe that as well.
Tip #3: Let Your Child Be In Control
Your child is feeling immense pressure to perform and finish their college application in a precise and timely manner, that’s stressful. Parents, you want the best for your child? Then, have boundaries for when you discuss college applications and how that’s going. Set up a time during the week where you can check in and see how their college application is coming along. College is a life changing time where your child grows to become a young adult. Give them the responsibility of applying to colleges. But, does that mean you let them forget and let them be to their own devices? No, you want to give them reined-in freedom. Allow them to go through the college application process on their own. Don’t take over the helm and fill out application forms. By setting boundaries, you’re allowing your child to take their college decision into their own hands. Stress and high anxiety will happen during the multi year process so be a calming presence for your child. Help them take each challenge that comes their way one step at a time. Also, having a calendar with all the college admission deadlines placed on their will help alleviate the pressure your child will have when it comes to everything needed to be due. Lynn Jacobs of U.S. News wrote, “Be empathetic and encourage your child to take things one step at a time...let your child "own" the decision: Remember, it's his life, not yours.” College Applications is a seminal moment in every parents life because your child is taking a big step in their life and we want them to be successful. But, the best way a parent can help is letting go and allowing their children to make mistakes and go through college admission process on their own.
After reading this, I hope this lightens the pressure for you as your child starts applying to college. Every parent goes through this stage so don’t feel disappointed if you’ve been putting pressure on your child to get into the best schools. Just adjust your perspective, talk to your child, and come to an agreement on what’s expected. After you’ve done this, if your child is still having challenges with their college applications, check out 7EDU Impact Academy. Here, you can get help with applying to colleges and making sure your child has a surefire entrance into the college that best “fits” them. Call us at (408) 216-9109 to find out more!