How to Support Your Child During the College Admissions Process

helicopter parentsThe college admissions process is a stressful time for the entire family, and parents walk a particularly fine line when it comes to their involvement. Recent research by the College Board found that almost 30% of college-bound seniors wish their parents did more to help them look for and apply to colleges, and only 6% wanted their parents to do less. With that said, it’s not an open invitation to fight their battles or make decisions for them during an often overwhelming and confusing time.

The San Jose Mercury News ran 10 tips for parents during the college application process, and it’s one of the more actionable lists I’ve read in awhile. Here are my 4 favorite pieces of advice from the article:

1. Guide your child in choosing colleges that would be a great fit, but don’t force your child to only apply to schools that you like. Emphasizing rank and brand might cause your child to react negatively to the pressure.

2. Read over your child’s essays and give tips, but do not write or rewrite the essays. A teenager’s voice is distinctly different from a parent’s voice.


4. If you have questions that can only be answered by an admissions office, have your child call. It helps the student to develop the ability to speak to adults and to take control of the admissions process. <–I particularly love this point because it teaches students to be resourceful, and to be confident when speaking with professors and administrators.

6. Remind your children about due dates and help them manage the process, but don’t micromanage them.

Would you advise parents to join the college tour or stay at home? Would you suggest they read their child’s college essay before sending or keep their opinions to themselves? How else can parents be supportive without hovering during this time? Let us know in the comments!

Read more tips for parents during the college admissions process and be sure read our free College Parents Survival Guide.