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How Much Should Parents Help With College Admissions?


Replies to: How Much Should Parents Help With College Admissions?

  • natty1988natty1988 642 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
    A lot of it depends on the kid, their level of maturity, and how motivated they are...
    My D is a self-starter, you don't need to nag her. She kept track of all the deadlines, what was required, etc. My Son is a little bit different he does need a bit more involvement, but not a ton. I do tend to be a bit more pushy when it comes to applying for scholarships and stuff involving financial aid, since we're paying and we're not made of money...,
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5277 replies77 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited December 2018
    The question is a bit of “preaching to the choir” as this is CC. LOL.

    If we are participating in this conversation as a parent on CC, we are already self identified as being “involved”.

    And to a much greater extent than the vast, vast majority of parents out there representing millions of graduates each year.

    I personally believe that we all want the best for our children.

    However it is my experience that one’s own life experiences , personal feelings, missed opportunities and if we are honest - competitiveness can shine through during this time.

    Does it really matter if they get into a ivy or top 15 or top 20 lac to be successful? To get into med school. We know that’s not the case.

    To be happy? I dont think so.

    But it’s tough out there and we want them in the best position to succeed.

    However, that might not occur at the super selective if they feel unhappy, out of sorts or just not digging it. Perhaps the really positive experience can perhaps happen somewhere else and lead to higher levels of achievement. Actually a better med school or job. I don’t know. But maybe.

    We should be open to that possibility.

    We should be reflective on what agenda we are pursuing. Is it to prove our own worth as parents and a reflection on our own personal excellence born out through our children?

    Can we be that honest with ourselves?

    Is it for the sticker on the car or what you tell the folks at work?

    “See, I told you all how uniquely talented and brilliant my kid is for the past ten years. See, I was right.”

    Not ever saying it out loud but feeling -“no way am I going to settle on State U. Although State U will be free and I’m going to empty out the old 401k, it’s not going to give me the sense of accomplishment we have earned over the years. What with all those oboe lessons and test prep weekends.”

    And I am joking here to a degree. Please no attacks.

    But part of what I am describing is my personal experience. I am not ashamed to be honest with you.

    But In the end, other than making sure our d had options to consider through visits and conversation, understood our personal financial commitment to her future and keeping aware of deadlines, I had to back off.

    It was becoming a joyless and unhappy experience.

    She wrote the essays and got the applications together.

    I never read a word. but wanted to edit them all, if I am being honest. I wanted to help her describe how great she was and to put it all together in a thematic way for the AOs. Nope. It’s her ride.

    In the end, I realized my job is to help create an independent and productive adult. And a happy person. This process should be part of that imho.

    And 18 is not a child anymore. But it seems like it was a flash in time to when I had to do everything for her. Where did the time go?

    In the end we decided to go with some loose oversight.

    Regular check in’s versus inspections.

    Some gentle guidance and some unconditional love.

    A shoulder to lean on for the bad news if it came (which in the long run isnt a bad thing either to learn a little resilience imho.

    A car she can put a sticker on.
    Her sticker. Not mine.

    The one she earned. Not me. And not one that will define her life anyway.

    For me, this process was the first step in letting go. Not completely. But enough for now.
    edited December 2018
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29423 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Recent news has shown that some parents not only are overinvolved in their kids’ college applications, but cross the line of cheating, bribing, lying and of any semblance of propriety. Others may stay well away from such transgressions, but are pushy to the point where they harm their kids, and possibly their results by being obnoxious and inappropriate.

    The family dynamics determine a lot of what is too much involvement and it often comes down to people involved.

    Where it is crucially important for parents to be involved is in the finances. Highly unlikely that the school GC or your kid is going to have a good grasp on the nuances of what you can afford and are willing to pay for college,and how it can affect your future as well as your kids’ you can’t do enough research on this. If family finances are limited, finding possible choices as well as realistic ones and certainties is a tough job.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7941 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My job of parenting did not end when they started elementary school, or high school, or senior year. It certainly has evolved, but it did not end. And it's never the same from day to day, much like my job of teaching.

    I try to parent each of my kids according to their needs at the moment. And each of my kids is radically different from the other two. Sometimes my job is to be a cheerleader, other times I'm the coach, and other times I'm just a sounding board..

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with helping my kids in this venture, as much as I would in any other. That doesn't extend to pretending to be him/ her, or to any of the ridiculously extreme lengths that have made the papers lately. But I see nothing wrong in having input on a list of appropriate, likely and "affordable" schools. (Yeah, like any school is affordable." I see nothing wrong in encouraging through the essay process, helping to proofread and offer suggestions. ("Are you sure you want to include that line? or "You're getting pretty close to 650 words, and you still haven't written a conclusion. Cut you edit that third paragraph?")

    I think a lot of those doing the warnings think that parental involvement is wrong, but hiring a coach is somehow less wrong. And I disagree.
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 2261 replies40 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    DH & I have been saving for college like mad since DD was in the womb. Because of that college savings asset (not because of our income), we're going to be full pay, or very close to it. So, yes, I'm going to be involved. I won't be writing her essays or bribing any coaches, but I don't think some amount of accountability on her part and some oversight on mine is too much to ask for in light of what we'll be spending. We're going to work out what that balance looks like when the time comes.

    High-performing high schools are extremely busy people. I think a lot more of them are getting more help with college applications than let on. There are only so many hours in a day.
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