How to support your child through college applications?
College applications and admissions season is a stressful time for both students and their parents. Your son or daughter may still be a child but they are embarking on their biggest adventure yet!
It makes sense to be afraid and worried. It doesn’t help that your child is likely in their angsty, rebellious teenager phase and may not be willing to listen all the time.
So, how do you support your child anyway? How to make sure that they know you are there for them without suffocating them?
Well, here are some ways.
1. Plan for your child
This is your child’s first time stepping into the real world and making big decisions. As a parent, you should try your best to make sure that their path is as smooth as possible.
It is likely that you already have education plans in place, and you might also have made investments in your child’s education.
These investment and education plans are important since they are the first step to ensuring your child gets his or her dream career. You should learn more and acquaint yourself with ways of saving up for your child’s future.
Besides financial planning, you should also research colleges and universities that would be the best fit for your child. This is something you should do together with your child.
Find out what kind of career your child wants and research degrees and educational institutions that are the best fit.
Narrow down a list of universities, colleges, and degrees as well as future job prospects. You should also make a list of the pros and cons of all of them.
You should prioritize your son or daughter and their opinions and ambitions when doing this. It is important to remember that this planning is for the benefit of your child.
Their dreams should take priority over your expectations. At the same time, you should offer advice, counseling, and guidance to ensure they follow their passions while also remaining pragmatic about their career options.
2. Empower your children
A big part of supportive parenting is empowering your children to become self-sufficient. It can be daunting and even scary to see your children leaving the nest and your guidance.
You need to remember that your children becoming independent and leaving your supervision is the end goal of all good parenting.
If your children are leaving the country to study abroad, then it becomes even more important for you to actively try and empower them in every way.
A very easy way in which you can empower your child is by encouraging them to do their own research and make their own decisions.
Ask them to come up with their own education plan, and encourage them to email universities and admissions officers for more information on the institution and curriculum.
Talk to them about what they want to do and how they plan to do it. Guide them but let them take care of their own responsibilities.
Trust your children and subtly guide them instead of being helicopter parents.
3. Listen to your child
“Children are meant to be seen and not heard” was the maxim during the Victorian age but times have changed.
You cannot hope to have the same attitude towards your child, especially now that they are starting their adult life. It can be hard to see your 17 or 18-year-old as a full adult just yet but rest assured, this is where it all begins
Often times parents let their expectations and dreams take center stage when it comes to their child’s life. You must avoid doing that.
And for that, it is important to listen to your child. Don’t just talk at them, when it comes to their education and career, you must learn to talk to them.
It can be helpful at this stage to talk to an education and guidance counselor. Counseling can be a good way of communicating with your child and finding out what they really want to do.
A good counselor can act as a mediator between you and your child and help bridge any gaps between you. If your child is unsure and hesitant about what to do next, counseling can help them figure things out.
If you are unsure about whether to find a good counselor in your city, then you can look into higher education counseling online.
4. Engage in extra-curricular activities with your child
Extra-curricular activities are not just a wonderful addition to any CV, they are also important for the overall development and happiness of an individual.
While it is convenient to see these activities as simply a means of padding your CV for your study abroad plans, that is not all they are.
Extra-curricular activities are meant to be a means for you to relax and have interests beyond just academics. They are meant to help you escape the rat race.
Do not pressure your children to take up activities solely to impress foreign universities. Rather find activities in which you and your child can both engage together.
This can help you maintain your bond and also release pressure during this incredibly stressful time.
5. Be transparent
You should support your children in every way possible but you should also be transparent with them. If there is some limitation to your capacity to help them, they should know about it.
If you are unsure that the career path they are choosing will be sustainable or capable of offering stable income and job security to your child, then you should share those doubts.
You are after all the adult here, you have experience and you should share that experience with your child. Don’t be afraid of telling them harsh truths, but also be willing to change your mind.
Let your child know that if they can prove to you the long-term sustainability of their career goals, you will be willing to support them all the way.
You should also be open and frank with them about finances. Tell them how you are planning to fund their education, whether it is through savings or an education loan.
This is a big investment you are making in your child’s future, make sure you are transparent about the nature of this investment. Also, let them know if you have any budgetary constraints and about universities or courses you cannot afford.
Being transparent and honest about your thoughts as a parent is helpful.
How to support your child through college applications?
Here are some steps to support your child through college applications:
- Help them select and shortlist the colleges
- Check the deadlines for all the colleges and make sure you submit all the documents before the deadline
- Check the requirements for different colleges such as some colleges require IELTS, GMAT, GRE, etc.
How to make your child’s college application stand out?
The best way to get a unique college application is to have extracurricular or develop a unique hobby. Having a background in social work also helps. Try to look for activities that resonate with your potential course to show the admission office that there is a link between your academic journey and extracurricular.
How to start your college application?
The first step in starting your college application is to check the requirements and the deadline after shortlisting your colleges.
Being a good, supportive parent during college admissions season is mostly about trust and communication. You and your child will both need to trust each other’s intentions and talk openly about all your doubts, hopes, and dreams.
Remember that college is only the start of a much bigger adventure and you will need to be strong and communicative as a family to make the most of it!