Admit it: The most savvy and supportive parents are often surprised to discover how little they understand about the changing college admission process. College admission has changed significantly since they have matriculated. This can be frustrating and, at times, intimidating. Before the frustration becomes overwhelming for you and your family, Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer a few strategies that can assist in making the college admission process a positive experience for the family. Here are essential parent strategies:
Keep Being Supportive. Your child is going to have many questions and experience myriad emotions while applying to colleges. Empowering your child to navigate this process will be a critical lesson in organization and responsibility. Encourage independence but facilitate support. In the midst of frustration and confusion, a guiding question can serve your child more greatly that handling the task yourself:
“Who do you think could help you with that question?”
“What happens if you ask your counselor that question?”
“Have you thought about calling College X and speaking with someone?”
Keep the Focus. Communication and collaboration on a regular basis are essential. The balance between offering support and taking over can be difficult to maintain. Students themselves may want your advice sometimes and reject your advice at other times. During this time of changing roles, good communication—and a sense of humor—are essential.
Keep Clear Boundaries. The college admission process can be stressful and continually discussing the college admission process can produce more anxiety. Select one day of the week as a respite and schedule time with your family where the activities and conversations have nothing to do with college.
Keep Time for Yourself. An informal support group of other parents of college-bound children can be invaluable. They can reassure you that you’re not alone and give you a “reality check” about your child’s possibly erratic behavior (their children are probably acting in a similar way). You can share ideas for making your children’s last years at home more meaningful. And after your child leaves for college, you can support each other as your way of life changes.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.