There is no one answer for every student or family. Some students seek out the advice and expertise of the parent, but others don't. Parents will find their role in much the same way as they did for other aspects of raising that particular child. That involves initiating conversation, putting forth reasonable expectations and providing guidance and insight during the sensitive application season. Hopefully, there is always healthy dialogue between parent and prospective applicant. If there are concerns about financial aid, parents have to be sure to talk to the student so that the appropriate forms are filed on a timely basis. Also, parents can often, but not always, serve as good proofreaders of college apps. Parents should beware of dictating college options and hindering the creative process of application essays, as that is sure to backfire. However, they should not hesitate to contact guidance or other college counselors when they have questions about any aspect of the process.
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The best role for any parent over the course of the college search and application process is that of supporter. It needs to be their process and the adults need to fade into the background offering support. While parents may have experiences to share, the changes in the process make even those of limited value. In the end, the best assistance a parent can offer is support and a faith in their children’s decision making ability. They are the ones who will go to college and how they handle the process--if we let them--helps show if they are ready. Ultimately, it must be about them. Parents can and should serve as sounding boards and where there are financial considerations, they owe it to their children to be honest about what that means. Ultimately it is about them, not us. . Take them on visits and tours, answer questions, offer support, but let it be their process.
“We're trying to come up some good essay topics.” Hmm.
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Welcome to this very exciting new chapter in life! You may have heard stories about other parents who have walked through this process before – some may be triumphant, and others may be tales of nerves and anxiety. The college application process is a roller coaster of emotion and quite an investment of time, but when you get to the other side, your child will be off on a new journey of independence and self-discovery! Are you ready to get started? Here’s a to get you started off on the right foot.