Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community discussions, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

  • Reply to threads, and start your own.
  • Post reviews of your campus visits.
  • Find hundreds of pages of informative articles.
  • Search from over 3 million scholarships.

A Parent’s Place in The College Quest


Replies to: A Parent’s Place in The College Quest

  • astute12astute12 Registered User Posts: 597 Member
    Also as a parent of a theatre major and a music major -- for conservatories parent involvement is a must just to manage the prescreens, sample lessons, and auditions....scheduling gets pretty crazy and for a kid to do it all on their own would be so stressful.

    It also depends on the kid -- one of mine was sure of the type of school they wanted (conservatory only) and the other wasn't so sure, so as parents we made sure they were able to visit a variety of local schools and a few out of states to get a feel for the different types of schools.
  • gpo613gpo613 Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    Really a parent's place in the college quest is not much different than their place in other parts of the child's life. A parent is a teacher and a provider of information. A the child gets older you become less a teacher and more a guide.

    My wife and I have one basic rule about our children. They must be able to live independently and support themselves once they are an adult. What they do with their lives is up to them. We only ask they try their best, but we aren't going to force them to do certain things.

    So when the college process rolled around I got myself caught up with all the latest info and passed that along to my D19. We told her the constraints which are basically financial. Then we pointed out the options. She knows she has some longshots in terms of getting accepted and being able to pay for them. But she has options that will work.

    We really only made two requests in terms of where to apply. One was solely to have a financial match. The other is a school we are hoping to play against her #1 choice. If my longshot plan works I will be genius otherwise I will be normal goofy Dad.

    We decided a long time ago making teenagers do certain things is almost impossible. Teaching them why it might be a good idea is better.

  • CCSavantCCSavant Registered User Posts: 32 Junior Member
    There is no one answer..............and the role is dictated by the relationship between the parents and the child. I worked with two sons going to college. The first son has always said that, without my guidance, he would have been clueless based upon his guidance counselor advice (full disclosure - we were living in Japan and he was at an international school). He was accepted to several top 25 schools, and made a good choice based on that. My second son benefited from an excellent college counselor at a competitive private school. My role was really to provide early exposure, and to help think about the options. We went through the complete top 50 school list discussing preferences and then visited 23 schools starting early in Junior year (we only visited two schools with our older son). We developed a strategy based on ED or EA options, and in his case with no clear ED preferences, we went very heavily into EA options. Actually visiting schools was REALLY CRITICAL to ultimately shaping applications. Schools that seem similar on paper can be very different in person. He got in EA to a number of high quality schools (Notre Dame, Michigan, Boston College, McGill - not EA but early), and then had the option to lob some applications into several reach schools.

    Bottom line, we had a plan that we all had bought into and worked through it together. One of the really big benefits of starting college visits early is that our son, (i) got to hear first hand what was important for college admissions and (ii) developed an affinity for certain schools and therefore the motivation to work hard in his Junior and Senior year.

    With the right approach, the college search process can actually be an important bonding event for parents and children. I love my sons and am proud of them, and am glad to support them in their explorations and choices.

    As just noted above......"experts be damned". Follow your best instincts!
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 19,987 Senior Member
    I wanted to be part of it all, not just the banker who said 'NO' to everything. If my kids had an interest in a school, I tried to make it work financially, but that was almost the final job, not the first.

    I tried not to miss deadlines like registering for the ACT or attending college fairs. I was the driver to visit schools. I looked at the academic side of things. I looked for athletic opportunities for my daughter who wanted to play in college, and she actually attended the school I read an article about the school started a team. Total fluke that I found the article, let my daughter know and she took it from there.

    But why can't parents be involved in it all and not be seen as 'helicopter' parents?
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,702 Senior Member
    "But why can't parents be involved in it all and not be seen as 'helicopter' parents?"

    I completely agree, and feel the same way as it relates to just helping keep your child on track academically, and just general parenting overall (helping them improve their habits so they can function on their own some day....clean your room, eat better, get some exercise, whatever).

    I also have been very involved with my kids college admissions process because they wanted me to be. They have a tremendous amount to juggle, especially the overachieving types that are aiming high and know they need to have straight A's in rigorous classes, while maintaining leadership roles in their EC's, etc. There is nothing wrong with helping with the administrative part of the process, IMO. I feel like sometimes I am the secretary....but the hard part, of course, is up to them...doing the essays, preparing for the interviews, filling in the actual application, and ultimately, deciding which is the right school for them.

    I have a good friend who has a very high powered career and just honestly didn't have the time to help her daughter with the process and her daughter made a lot of mistakes. Ended up at the wrong school (she since transferred and is happy). She had initially prided herself in how independently her daughter handled the whole thing, but ultimately came around to the reality that she was left alone a little too much with the whole thing. So she still has her great career (and I admire her for this, she is awesome) but she hired someone for daughter number two to make sure all of the i's are dotted and t's are crossed with the college applications.

    As @CCSavant said it really depends on the relationship between the parent and the child. But I think there are lots of ways for parents to help, if the child wants the help, without crossing a line of being over involved.

    Things have changed since I went through the process. I hand wrote all of my essays on my dining room table. My parents didn't even know what SAT's were. I ultimately got my MBA and they had no idea what that even meant, let alone what it took to get there. But times have changed.
  • Leigh22Leigh22 Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    #20 and #21 - I don’t see your involvement as helicopter parenting - I see it as good parenting. Helicopter parents are the ones who are not assisting, but controlling. The ones who actually write essays, call colleges and make a pest of themselves. The ones who later will be talking to their child’s future employers!
  • natty1988natty1988 Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    @Lehigh22 well said and very true! Also, when parents are the ones paying, we can't avoid talking about finances...
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,702 Senior Member
    Parents are definitely stake holders and should have some kind of input and guidance, especially if they are paying. That I completely agree with.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 2,148 Senior Member
    edited January 10
    Come on, we also do it because it’s exciting and full of youthful enthusiasm and hope for the future.

    It’s not just a purely fiscal responsibility like organizing the finances for the re-fi.

    There’s more too it than that, and it’s not because I think my child is incapable of managing deadlines and decisions.

    Of course we want what’s best for our children, but doesn’t anyone else find it super interesting? And fun road trips? The swag?

    Instense and plenty of tears at times for the students but definately something that only comes around a few times in life.
  • Leigh22Leigh22 Registered User Posts: 174 Junior Member
    I do find it very exciting and my S19 thanked me for my interest and enthusiasm.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 37,132 Super Moderator
    @Publisher, you wrote, "I just disagree with college being relegated to primarily being a financial concern."

    I don't think people have a choice in this. Even for our family, with both parents being professional engineers, financial concerns were at the very top of the list. We had to tell DS he couldn't attend Wash U, where he really wanted to go, because the money wasn't there. Yes, it would have been life changing for him, but we couldn't swing it.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    edited January 11
    Yes, but within the realm of affordability, there should be a number of options.

    I do agree that finances are a major consideration, however.

    Running the NPCs is important if one is not eligible for merit money.
  • collegemomjamcollegemomjam Registered User Posts: 1,702 Senior Member

    "Come on, we also do it because it’s exciting and full of youthful enthusiasm and hope for the future."

    Yup!! Definitely a big part of it in my house. Such a fun time...can be stressful, but there are lots of great options out there!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 73,064 Senior Member
    edited January 11
    Publisher wrote:
    Yes, but within the realm of affordability, there should be a number of options.

    Depends on the situation. For a middle income family (probably in the $50,000 to $80,000 income range, probably only about a quarter to a third of the usual forum "middle class" that complains about not getting financial aid at colleges) with a student who is college ready but does not have top-end academic stats living in a state with poor in-state financial aid at its public universities (e.g. Pennsylvania), the affordable choices may be limited.

    For the majority of college-intending high school students, cost limits are the biggest factor besides their own academic credentials in determining what colleges they can attend.
    Publisher wrote:
    Running the NPCs is important if one is not eligible for merit money.

    Running the NPC for a college is important if the student does not get sufficient automatic merit money, since competitive merit scholarships should typically be considered reaches, due to lack of information on how competitive they are.
Sign In or Register to comment.