Simplifying The College Application Process: For Parents

Being a busy mom is hard enough and with the speed in which education is evolving it can be stressful to keep up. As your child or children approach their junior year of high school the pressures can be overwhelming. With school work, SAT’s, ACT’s, prom, sports and other activities, the last thing that your child is going to want is to think about college. That’s where you are able to step in with these tips to help prep for everything college.

  • Being supportive and knowledgeable

Understanding what your child is looking for in a college and a future gives you the ability to do some research on your own and gain knowledge in order to support them. Encouraging them to volunteer and get involved in and out of school will help them to come up with a good starter resume. Through your child’s high school career they might consider their teacher, coach or even counselor as their mentor. These are the people you should have them consider asking to write them a college recommendation letter, as well as going to them with any other advice or questions. A parent probably is reading this and thinking “this doesn’t sound too difficult” but these things are constantly overlooked and can cause panic later on.

  • Asking for help

Google is a mom’s best friend. While schools often stress the services provided by their guidance counselors to helping students in their application process, but sometimes students still need more help. Utilizing different websites to look up specifics about the colleges and how to apply are important parts of the application process. Also when your child starts to write up their personal essay knowing what to write and how much to write are the top two things to consider. Obviously you can’t write the essay for your child but you can be there to help brainstorm and give support and feedback to help them in the process.

  • Getting organized and detailed

Determining things like location, academic programs, size, demographic and even housing are important to start ruling out schools. Once a handful of schools become appealing it is then time to plan out visits to the schools to get a feel of the overall campus as well as the area surrounding. Everything about the college application process is important, which is why it is important to read the fine print. Colleges have requirements that students must have to apply as well as deadlines that can be easily mixed up and missed. There are big differences between early action, early decision, regular decision and rolling application; knowing these differences will help to determine what is best for your child. A major academic consideration is whether or not the college has the proper degree program for your child wants to pursue his or her career goal. Keeping this information organized using spreadsheets and folders of this information will help you and your child to smoothly get through this process.

  • Picking the right school

Now that you and your child have gained knowledge about colleges, understood the process and got organized it is now time to start applying and making decisions. Some believe in applying to very little schools, some believe in applying to multiple; truth is, there is no right or wrong, only what is best for your child. Once you have gone through, picked and ranked the colleges your child wants to apply to, it is now time to put all the hard work into action. Whether they are applying through common app or through the actual college website admissions department it is important to keep track of everything submitted, any emails and updates (that is where the spreadsheets and folders are a big help). After what might feel like forever the acceptance letters start to go out.

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Time will fly during these two crucial years of preparation so the ability to get ahead of the game and assist your child every step of the way will not only ease the stress of your child, but also yourself. Mothers have been through this already or even going through this currently. So if there is ever a time of distraught, take a step back and remember that you are not alone. Meaning there is help all around, whether it being the school community, internet, friends or even these tips.

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