How Parents Can Support Their High School Senior

The college search process can be stressful for high school seniors. As a parent, you want to ease their stress and anxiety. In this blog, we’ve gathered four tips for parents to best support their students. 

  • Set realistic expectations. The idea of finding the “perfect” college where your student will be wildly happy and always successful is a myth. They may struggle with a class even if she was at the top of their high school class. They might not feel like they click with the crowd during the first few weeks or even the first semester. Developing resiliency and persistence is important. The “perfect” experience doesn’t exist. College is hard. Rather than searching for the “perfect” fit, look for options that will provide a positive experience in a community that values your student. A place where they are challenged and supported to develop their innate talents and reach their goals.
  • Assume the role of consultant. Allow and trust your student to lead. They’re learning how to navigate adult life. Encourage. Provide ideas. But don’t control. Assist with calendars, scheduling visits, and organization, if necessary. Also, keep the process ethical and above board. The responsibility for completing the application and writing the essay belongs to your student. If they has questions or concerns, direct them to their admissions counselor. Colleges and universities that are good at challenging and supporting students have an admissions counselor ready and eager to work with your student.
  • Limit conversations about the college search. Perpetual talk and constant check-ins tend to create anxiety and hinder progress. Consider limiting conversation and status updates to one day per week or certain hours of the day. As a senior, your student probably has a lot of demands on their time – AP classes, homework, and extra-curricular responsibilities – and creating a plan for discussion can help relieve anxiety and move the process forward.
  • Encourage your student to visit her top choice schools – it’s the single most important aspect of their college search. They should speak with their admissions counselor, faculty members, and current students to gain insight into academic programming, internship opportunities, student life, financial aid, scholarships, and more!

Using the tips above can help lower the stress that surrounds the college search. The college search process is an opportunity to build and strengthen relationships that ultimately lead to a great college choice – a place where your student will be challenged and supported to reach her goals in college and beyond. 

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