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How Much Should Parents Help With College Admissions?

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

  • Sally_RubenstoneSally_Rubenstone CC Admissions Expert Posts: 3,977 Senior Member
    @Lindagaf -Though I'll probably get skewered by some folks for gender stereotyping, I've heard from countless parents over countless years that it's much more common to have to light a fire under a son than a daughter. Although I've certainly counseled Type A boys who need no prodding at all, it's far more typical of males to require a shove through the admissions maze than females ... at least based on my mail throughout the eons.

    And I fully agree with you ... the goal is to have a happy kid at a college that's a good fit. And if some of our offspring need extra oversight to ... well ... spring off, and if the parents are in a position to provide it, then I'm all for it. It doesn't mean that these children won't ever spread their wings on their own.
  • thermomthermom Registered User Posts: 426 Member
    I think a lot depends on how ready the kid is at different points when various actions need to be in process. My older D (now a happy college sophomore) was very conscientious and responsible when it came to her academics. She was not ready in terms of emotional maturity (facing the idea of "growing up", leaving home, etc. that the college process represented) at the same level.

    She did a lot of growing up in her senior year of high school -- but senior year is too late to just be getting started if your kid might want to attend a selective school! So I helped my D a lot in the early prep stages when she was a HS junior to make sure she was at least getting some testing in and figuring out the types of schools she might be interested in. She took over more the deeper into the process she got, and had complete ownership of her ultimate decision.

    My younger D, now finishing middle school, is probably not going to require nearly as much pushing to get going. It really depends on the kid.
  • sta3535sta3535 Registered User Posts: 265 Junior Member
    If I was a parent someday, then I'd want to know what's going on with my kid's admission process because I
    I'll probably be helping them along the way. But, there's certain things that they need to do on their own, so I'll only help them when they need it from me.
  • BoondocksBoondocks Registered User Posts: 321 Member
    edited September 2018
    Unless the 17-year-old is going to pay for college by himself/herself, parents need to get involved.

    How much depends on the kid.

    If I hadn't pressed my daughter, she wouldn't have gotten into get into a Top 15 college that wound up costing $12,500 a year, which was half the cost of our state university. It also turned out to be an excellent fit, she absolutely loved the school and its culture, and she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

    When my kids graduated recently, they were on their own when finding a job. I offered myself as a resource, but decided it was certainly time for them to do that one on their own (especially since after graduation, life was on their nickel, not mine).
  • cfsnowycfsnowy Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    Parents should be aware,informed, prepared, and ready to become involved when necessary. Mostly, they should serve as reality checks (financially and academically) in order to keep everybody's expectations in line and on the same page.
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 148 Junior 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...,
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 2,118 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.
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