I love my children dearly. As a father of four, there are only a few things I would not do for them to ensure their happiness. Would I choose their friends? No. Would I choose their their political affiliations? No. Would I choose their college? Absolutely not. Now remember, “choose” and “influence” are very different and I hope my model of how I live my life helps them to make wise decisions, but I would never outright choose any of the above for them.
I would, however, help them with their college application process. As a company we are knee deep with seniors and their applications and having parent involvement is critical and welcomed. Within reason. While all of us, as parents, want to help our kids to succeed, we cannot and should not be overly entrenched in students’’ essays and applications. Nothing is more frustrating for a senior than not feeling trusted and liberated to steer his or her own college process. As hard as it is emotionally for parents to let go, this is the time to give your kids some breathing room.
Here are 5 quick do’s and don’ts for parents as they grit their teeth about the prospect of their baby applying to college.
DO help them to stay organized. Schedule college visits and consider hiring a counselor who can hold them accountable.
DO help them to brainstorm essay topics. Read the essay questions on your own and then discuss over dinner or on a drive. They appreciate your insights more than say.
DON’T write the essay. As tempting as it may be, colleges can see right through it and it's not the way to set your child up for college independence.
DO proofread the essays and applications. Four eyes are better than two.
DON’T listen to what everyone else is doing. Your child has a unique process and you either have a capable school or independent counselor who knows the timetable of the process. Trust the people you have chosen to counsel you and your child.