Applying to different universities and colleges can be a stressful time for students. They will have to go over their options, complete various application forms, write their essays, collate all the required documents, and prepare for entrance exams and interviews. They will have to do all of these while juggling schoolwork and other activities.
With everything that seniors have to go through in their last year of high school, they will need all the help and support they can get, especially from their parents. If your child is ready to apply to different colleges and universities, here are some ways you can help him go through the process.
1. Let your child choose which schools to apply to.
Although the cost and your financial status may limit your child’s choice of schools, it doesn’t mean that you should discourage him from applying to well-known private universities if he wants to. Most schools, whether small or large, offer generous financial aid and scholarships, so allow your child to apply to schools he likes to since he may be qualified for some subsidies. If your child is good at sports, he may just impress athletic recruitment consultants and get an athletic scholarship.
Also, keep in mind that your kid will be going to college, not you. As such, your child should be the one making a list of schools he wants to go to. You can give suggestions, but don’t force him to stick to a particular college or university.
2. Give support and advice only when you’re asked.
With everything that your child has to go through, he certainly doesn’t need any additional pressure. As such, avoid hovering and offering help every single day since your young one may misconstrue this and start to feel more anxious and worried.
The best way for you to get involved in your child’s college application process is to act as an additional resource, guide and support. Do some research regarding your kid’s choices of schools and their application process. Give advice when he is experiencing doubts, frustration, or bouts of indecision. When your teenager is starting to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, ask him where he needs extra help. Work with your child to find solutions to his student’s college application problems or school-related issues and know when to get help from trusted consultants, such as our team here at Capital College Consulting.
3. Work with your child to ensure his application stands out.
Colleges and universities receive hundreds of applications from students in and outside of the country. Although your child will be completing the application forms, writing the essays, and collecting the recommendation letters, ask him if you can go over all these documents before they will be submitted. Be on the lookout for grammar and spelling errors on the application form and point them out, but don’t correct them yourself.
Next, work with your teenager to highlight his interests, skills, strengths, and everything that sets him apart from the other candidates in his application. You can suggest adding relevant training or internship certificates which your child has since these can show that he has a long vested interest in the course he wants to take up.
4. Diarise the different admissions deadlines and application requirements but avoid pestering your child.
Since your child may be busy with schoolwork and preparing college applications, he may forget to take note of college admission deadlines. You can read up on these important details and mark the deadlines in your child’s calendar. You can also ask your child about updates on all their paperwork to make sure things are on track, but don’t nag – this won’t do any good for your teen who’s already under pressure.
5. Conduct mock interviews with your child.
International student consultants say that aside from good test scores and great essays and recommendation letters, admission officers are also now placing emphasis on how applicants perform during interviews. Do some research on how typical college admission interviews go and help your child prepare for them. Provide feedback regarding his answers to the interview questions, but don’t give your child your an opinion on what you think is the correct response. Make sure that your teenager’s personality and capabilities will shine through the actual interview; you can accomplish this with sufficient practice.
6. Let your child take the lead when going on college trips.
Whether your child needs to attend an admissions interview or wants to join an information session, campus tour, or visit a class, let him or her plan everything. Be the designated driver or companion but give your child the freedom (and responsibility) to talk to the school staff and handle all interactions with the other students.
7. Avoid comparing your child to other students applying for college.
Don’t place your child under additional pressure and make him or her resentful by deliberately or accidentally bringing up stories about other students’ college admission success stories. Avoid discussing your kid’s plans to other parents as well, so that you can avoid making any unwarranted comparisons. If your child wants to discuss the choices and experiences of his friends, listen to and focus on your teen’s needs or fears and how you can help him.
Although it is important that you are involved in the whole college application process with your child, keep in mind that you need to observe some boundaries. Ultimately, it will be your child going to college to be educated and undergo various experiences, so he has to learn to start making some important decisions alone.