Senior year of high school is a very bittersweet time for students. They stand on the crossroad of what they have known their whole life and the life that is ahead of them. Your child might be under a lot of pressure to make such a grand choice, especially amidst years of teen angst.
It’s very easy to agitate them with too many questions and requests, therefore as a parent, it feels like you need to tiptoe around them. However, this does not mean that you have to remove yourself from their decision-making. Instead, involve yourself in a way that is encouraging and guide them through the process of going to college. The following list outlines 5 things you can do as a parent to encourage your child as they’re looking to apply to college:
1. Look up colleges, programs, and scholarships that your child might be interested in.
With high school’s already existing deadlines and research tasks, there is pressure on your child to continue excelling in school while starting their college applications.
It would be a sign of appreciation and care for you to involve yourself in this research. Look into programs and schools they might like. This will shorten the time they spend looking for those things and reduce stress. This act of kindness also shows that you care about them and the journey they are about to embark on. It shows them that you know them and that you are receptive to their wants and needs.
Financing for school is also a huge issue nowadays as immense college debts keep racking up. Help your child out by looking at potential scholarships they are eligible to apply for.
In the realm of helping and knowing your child, you can also get them excited about applying to college by helping them write the personal statement essay. College essays are curated to be extremely personal and telling of character. Help your child by guiding them through what aspects of their personalities should be framed in this essay or remind them of instances in their life that are worth telling.
Create a weekly meeting to discuss college applications
One of the most stressful high school instances is during the pre-college application deadlines when there is a constant buzz of college talk. Your child might feel under pressure and will most likely feel like their home is a safety zone where they can get away from all the college jargon. They have had enough of talking about college with their teacher, counselors, and friends, therefore it is reasonable as to why they get irritated when a parent asks them about a college application.
It’s understandable to not want to be left in the dark, so the best way to solve this issue is to have weekly family meetings to discuss college. During this allotted weekly time, you and your child can talk about what they have been working on and how their application is going. You can also give your inputs and assess their deadlines and how they are doing in order to achieve them.
Doing this will also help reduce your child’s stress because they know they won’t be harassed about college on any other day in the week. Use this time to present the college research you’ve done.
Get additional help
Sometimes teenagers might be overwhelmed with how much work they have to do in order to apply for college. They might even already be drowning in school work. It would be beneficial for some children to hire additional help. This would make it seem less overwhelming as they have someone to guide them through the whole application process and help them break down major objectives into several tangible targets they can work on together.
It can also be beneficial for someone to review the essays and supplements that your student will need to write to make sure they are submitting the best work to their abilities. Working with a college counselor will also prepare them for what is to come, as these counselors are trained to answer all the questions your student might have about applications. It can also be beneficial for parents because a lot of time, these services will update the parents on the students’ work and efforts, making them more aware of how the process is going for them.
Assess your students’ needs and determine if the additional help might be beneficial to them.
Discuss their options
No one is the same and there is not one specific path to success for everyone. It’s important to keep an open mind for your child during this whole process. Discuss their options with them and let them be aware that you support them no matter what route they want to take in life. They may prefer to take a gap year or semester in order to gain worldly experience by traveling or stack up some money by working in a local store. Especially given this time and COVID-19, it is important to remember that flexibility is key in good parenting.
Moreover, assess what your child is good at and encourage them to pursue careers that you think they would enjoy. Help guide them into choosing the right degree path for them. Giving them freedom will allow for them to feel more in control and in general, increase their drive, as they don’t feel like what they are going after is something forced.
Reinforce their sense of achievement
Remind them of their abilities and capabilities. This is why there’s an insecurity plague amongst teenagers nowadays. It is important for them to feel nurturing from their parents and be able to fall back to their parents as a source of motivation. If you encourage your kid to keep attempting and keep going, they will feel encouraged during the college admission process. It will help them gain confidence and value themselves and their work highly.
This could open doors for them that were blocked before from the struggles of insecurity. It will encourage them to make even more grand acts like this and keep their morale up during the trying times of college applications.
The last year of high school means that a lot of change is going to fall upon your teenager. They should be encouraged to spend their last moments with friends and family. It is important for parents to help pave the path for their children’s future. By working on this together and having patience with your child, the pressure on them will hopefully reduce leaving more space for them to feel excited and look forward to this new stage of their lives. Motivate your teen to go to college by being open-minded and nurturing to them. Understand they are already under a lot of pressure and embark on this journey with them.
Here are some resources to help you further understand the college application process better and how the admissions process works.