One of the challenges of the college admission process can be for families to work together in a positive way that results in a future plan that everyone is comfortable with. Teens who procrastinate and parents who are anxious tend to be common stressors for families.  Here are some strategies and suggestions that students can use to better communicate with their parents and let them know how they can truly be helpful.  

If Your Parents Aren’t Helping Enough:

  • Ask your parent(s) to look over your college essay.
  • Ask your parent(s) if they went to college, what college was like for them and what they liked/didn’t like about the college they went to.
  • Initiate a frank discussion about how much your family can afford for college and plan to apply to some financially safety schools if necessary.
  • If the college process is new to your parent(s), you may know more about it than they do, in which case be patient and teach them what you know so they can be informed and helpful.
  • Ask your parent(s) to make an appointment for you with a college counselor if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Ask your parent(s) to help you locate college resource guides at a bookstore or local library.

If Your Parents Are Helping Too Much:

  • Let your parent(s) know that you appreciate their help, but that this is your process and you want and need to be responsible for all of it.
  • Tell your parent(s) if you feel they are focusing too much on the college process and not enough about the rest of your life; you may ask to take a break from college talk for a few days if it seems overwhelming.
  • Tell your parent(s) that it is hurting you, rather than helping you, when they do everything themselves instead of letting you do it.  Sure, it might take longer for the campus tour to get scheduled, but you will and should do it on your own .
  • Ask your parent(s) not to get upset with you when you make mistakes or procrastinate during the college process.  It can get overwhelming and sometimes scary and you are doing the best you can.
  • Ask your parents to meet with a college counselor if they have many questions themselves or need reassurance. 
  • There are some things your parent(s) can do to help that are less-invasive: create a calendar of deadline dates and hang it on the fridge, help create a system for sorting through college mail, drive you to campus tours and interviews, proofread your application and fill out financial aid forms.
  • Ask your parent(s) to be calm, neutral and supportive on the outside, even if they are not feeling that way on the inside. It helps you stay focused and calm yourself.

Campus Bound specializes in helping families navigate the college application process in a way that promotes family harmony.  Getting a college counselor on board can make life less stressful for everyone.  Contact Campus Bound today to schedule a free consultation.  

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