Applying to college is a lot of work - and it can be stressful. 80% of college applicants are currently trying to get done in about 4 weeks what they should have been doing for the last 8 to12 months! I see it all of the time. That's why I have some great tips to offer to parents during this stressful period.
While completing applications and meeting important deadlines is no doubt your student's responsibility, you can provide support and encouragement. Here are some ways you can help:
- Ask how the applications are going - but don't nag! Show interest in how the applications are coming along, but don't add to the pressure your child is already feeling as they try to get things done. Keep telling yourself, it will get done on your student's timetable, not yours.
- Don't add your worries and anxieties to your student's. Let your student get things done on his or her schedule, instead of yours. Insisting that he add colleges to his list at the last minute, "just in case", rewriting his essays for him or talking about your student with other parents can add more stress to an already stressful process. Your child needs to feel that you are confident everything will be OK - your kid will be happy and successful no matter what college he or she lands at!
- Organization. There's lots of paperwork involved so help your student put together a method to store all of the college application materials so he or she doesn't have to spend hours just looking for something in order to spend additional hours completing it. Organization will set you free to focus on what's important - getting things done. Help him cement the organizational and time management skills needed to be successful in college - so help but don't do it for him. Don't deny your kid this important learning and growth opportunity by taking over. Offer suggestions, for example, color coded tabs and folders with labels always works great for me. Suggest a calendar on their phone with reminders set for important deadlines.
- Offer lots of love, hugs and support while keeping comments to a minimum. This is an important experience, made easier if you focus on having a fun, exciting journey rather than an anxious one. It should be exciting because of the opportunities before you. Focus on that rather than saying all of this work is a 'burden".