Do you guys do most of the work for you s/ds?

<p>I am a minority (mexican) first generation to graduate from hs and to go to college, former migrant blah blah blah it seems bad but it wasn't. I was wondering if parents really help out as much as some people say? By work i meant college applications and financial aid.</p>

<p>My answer will be slightly skewed by the fact that we raised D in the UK with a different education system to America's, but I would say I helped D quite a bit. Years ago I began making sure she understood that if she used her academic ability to its fullest and did her best and gave it a high priority in her life, she would have more choices when the time came for further education. For the past few years we have discussed most aspects of college in depth. With no guidance counselor, it was up to me to make sure she understood the whole process in the US, including that an acceptance did not mean she could attend as we needed significant financial aid. I researched universities for the things that mattered to her and eliminated those lacking things important to her. I have acted as secretary for a very busy kid who is taking the UK's most rigorous academic schedule and competing in a sport at our national level. I insisted she make a start in the summer before her senior year; I made sure she didn't miss any deadlines, got an early start on essays, organized all of the material by school and did all the stuff that she didn't have time for if it didn't matter who did it. I helped her think about how to present her British ECs in terms that would be understood in the US. Completing the FAFSA and PROFILE forms was a family affair for us, preceeded by my asking questions about how to report our British income a year in advance. I have great admiration for kids who can take on the whole load of responsibility of the college application process by themselves, but given our situation and the myriad of questions we had to ask before we even started to mesh the two systems, my D would not have been able to do it without my help, without backing off either her academics or her sport, either of which might have been a deciding factor in admission/money. I also think that she would have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of everything required that without my constant emotional support, she would have given up on the dream of attending in the US and taken the much easier British way: you list a maximum of 6 courses/schools, write a personal statement less than one page long about why you want that course of study including a bit about you, your school writes a recommendation letter with your predicted grades and all of that goes to UCAS, who forwards it to the schools. Here, every university's tuition is the same, the living allowance varies little, and the borrowing maximum is fixed nationally. It's amazing how much information and support kids this age get from their peers and teachers, but where we are no one knew anything about the American college application system and that support wasn't there. I would think being able to do it alone would depend on the kid, the complexity of their situation, the types of schools/applications that needed completion, the availability of help from peers, their motivation, and time available. One college with their own financial aid application had questions which took me hours and hours to calculate the answers for. Lots of parents help out, I think, but also lots of kids do it all themselves.</p>

<p>"Help out" and "do most of the work" are two entirely different things, as I see it. </p>

<p>Help out connotes what I believe is appropriate and what I did: "application manager" keeping things organized, notifying son of deadlines, presenting him with the materials needing completion by those deadlines, ... I made a blackboard list of all the essay qx for all the schools he was considering, so he could start cogitating on them well in advance of writing them. I planned all school visits, appointments, hotels (his D did all the air res). I reviewed and commented on his essays (in this case, they didn't need much editing, but advised on which I thought were better; emailed them to his GC for her opinions).</p>

<p>"Do most of the work" makes me think of someone who actually writes the essays - a major no-no, of course.</p>

<p>You may mean that what I did do was "most of the work" and I think there are many of us who do that.</p>

<p>I have the greatest admiration for those students who do every single thing themselves, especially those who handle their own FAFSA. My H did all of that and I don't know if S would have had a clue (actually, he would have gotten a clue if necessary, but...). My grandS was supposed to do his own FAFSA, and we thought he had, but..... needless to say, it is not done yet, so his first year may well have zilch in aid.</p>

<p>As with all things in life you have parents who do it all from soup to nuts for the kids spending large amounts of money on every aspect of the application process, and you have those who don't even encourage and even discourage it. If your parents are unable or unwilling to help you with the process, you will need to do a lot more research yourself, maybe piggyback on a friend whose parents are up on the process, and ask your GC for some extra guidance. Where your parents' support is crucial is in giving you the scoop on the financial situation. You cannot assume that they do not make enough or that you can just get scholarships as they are front line to pay according to institutional and federal financial aid methodology. You need to get tax returns and financial info along with a good idea on what they are will and able to contribute to your college education.</p>

You have surely come to the right place if you do need parental help with some of your application process. There are so many parents here who give great advice, and many are clearly expert in specific areas. Just wait till the actual application process begins again in September, or look back at posts from this last fall. </p>

<p>To answer your question, I helped my son a lot more than my daughter, but just in helping him stay focused, organized and on schedule. My daughter was very focused without any help from me. But my son needed a little prodding, especially since he was applying to 8 different places. The financial aid stuff all fell to me, but I have a lot of experience with that sort of thing. . .that doesn't make it any more fun, I promise. There are lots of books written about how to do the forms for financial aid, as well as website specifically set up to help you step by step. I do hope you are able to get access to a good counselor at your school, but if not, the folks here are ready and able to help.</p>

<p>I was "Project Manager" for my D. I gathered a <em>lot</em> of information, all three of us had discussions, she made decisions, we all visited colleges, she made more decisions, etc. She wrote her essays, I gave light comments...queried maybe four word choices among the bunch and made some structural comments...much in the way of an English teacher looking at an essay. The FinAid applications were 98 percent my work, 2 percent reviewing with her so that she understood.</p>

<p>As for the search/selection/application part of the process, three sets of eyes/ears/brains were very helpful in comparing notes. Also, TheMom and I had two sets of college experience to bring to bear and there were times it was useful for D to have adult perceptions on separating fact from marketing hype.</p>

<p>The reason i started this tread is because i wanted to know how much help students were recieving during the application process. I recently finished mine and it went pretty good :). It was hard to get my family to get there income tax and stuff like that finished.</p>

<p>OneUnknown, it's perfectly possible to go through the process without any parental support. It's also a lot easier--and with greater odds of not running aground somewhere along the way--if you have the support. Consider it just one more handicap that you negotiated. And congratulations. </p>

<p>Btw, have you decided on Stanford vs. UW?</p>

<p>I am going to stanford. I love UW but i can't pass up this opportunity.</p>

<p>I sat back and watched, seriously. D did the research, wrote all of her apps, I didn't even get to read them. She planned our visits, I bought the tickets. I did do the financial forms.</p>

<p>OneUnknown, good luck. I'm not sure which I would have chosen for you if the power had been mine, so it's just as well the choice is yours.</p>

<p>Stanford is #2 on my list of "Big U's" [after Yale]...U/Chicago is an anomaly...and I think it's a terrific place. Don't fall through the cracks and squeeze as much as you can from the experience.</p>

<p>I did a lot of the research and reading. I surfed the net and found local churches etc. I probably came up with a menu of 40 schools for D to consider. Her GC came up with a separate list based on his viewpoint. She then narrowed them down and then narrowed the list down again when it came time to actually apply. Even then she eliminated one more college because their deadline was before Christmas break. She simply didn't have time to do the essays. Ended up applying to 9 schools.
Essays were roughed out by her during the summer. Then she wrote new essays during the fall when she found out her English teacher didn't think the summer essays were good enough. She brought them home over Christmas break and worked on them. She made me proof them which was work because I thought they were good, but she thought they were not good enough. She reworked them through several drafts, and I have to tell you they were indeed better when she finally agreed to submit them. Then the mad dash in my car to beat the postmark deadline. I needed a break after the Christmas break.</p>

<p>Mardad, 12/27/03 was one of the happier days in my life, when I shoved the stack of application packages across the counter at the Post Office.</p>

<p>My son applied to large number of colleges. I did the research and gathered data, My wife filled out the forms and cordinated the schedule. My son had his regular HS senior work and a college class to deal with besides writing the 5 essays. It worked well and there was no last minute tension getting all the applications filed on time.</p>


<p>My dad filled out the general apps for colleges he wanted me to apply for. He also scheduled any visits that were important for colleges he wanted me to go to. I still wrote the essays and did all the important stuff and if I wanted to choose a college, I had to do all the work. College has always been a thought in my life ever since 1st grade (no joke). I have had dreams of college and talked about it as a child (my parents tell me this too, of course they were so proud and probably encouraged it). Education was always a high priority in my life. My mom teaches at a school with a primarily Hispanic population and it is very hard for her b/c a lot of the students just don't have the same values or care as much about their education. And congrats on being the first generation in college.</p>

<p>My wife and I did extensive reading about colleges and the application process. We had never heard of early decision, learned too late about the value of SAT courses, and tried to understand the reality of need blind decision processes. We drove her to college fairs and receptions, brought home books from the library and bought magazines when they had things of interest. I searched out internet sites, including this one, web blogs and police and weather reports and may have dropped some information into our dinner conversations. She read and listened to somethings , ignored others, picked and chose when to talk to us about what we might have heard or learned about a school.</p>

<p>Early in her junior year she started to look at schools from a distance and her first few favorites disappeared as she compared them to others. I read her essay after it was sent, did suggest a change to the wording of one sentence in a letter she wrote.</p>

<p>Most of our actual application assistance had to do with financial aid applications (FAFSA et al.) I also drove her to see a half a dozen colleges from UCSD to Wellesley. </p>

<p>None of what we did compared to the work she did in highschool taking classes, organizing clubs and participating in events. I feel parents should be prepared to spend time if they do not have a college counselor at your child's high school.</p>

<p>My mother helped me out significantly in doing my applications. We researched and came up with a list of schools together (after consulting with various teachers, knowledgeable friends, etc.), but she found out all the nitty-gritty details about deadlines and such. She made up a timeline for me as well as one that I could give to my school to help them in meeting deadlines; and she got together all the forms that everyone needed to fill out and made sure it was clear what we each had to do. She also did the financial aid (I don't know anything about that, since I don't make the money).</p>

<p>But while she acted as my personal manager—and that was invaluable, because I myself have trouble with logistical/organizational tasks, and might have missed the deadlines if left to my own devices—I still did all the hard stuff. I wrote the essays and edited them myself (I asked for opinions from teachers, friends, and parents, but none of them were picky enough in editing, so it wasn't that useful—although the reassurance and ego-boosting was nice ;)). I filled out the application. And of course, all the things that went into the application—my transcript, my ECs, my SAT scores—are mine and mine alone. So yes, my mother did help keep me on track, but all the important stuff I did myself. So I don't have to feel guilty about the help. ;)</p>

<p>my parents motivated me to get me to the point where I was (pretty decent student) and i applied to all the colleges and made all the decisions myself. They don't understand english so I went elsewhere for essay editing and such. I applied to 6 privates and the UCs (although i thought I made a mistake applying to the 6 hardest private schools in the united states.. but thats what you get when a 17 year old is the only input in colleges). I filed my own FAFSA, Profile and other financial aid stuff(holy crap the Common App Business Supplement was a pain). The one thing they did do was to help me with the money that i needed to apply and also to visit during the past summer. But when the acceptances came rolling in (Harvard Yale Princeton MIT, all the UCs), it was definitely sweeter than if someone else did the applications and filled stuff out for me. In the end, I have to thank my parents for raising me and motivating me through the 12 years we have been in this country. My parents were actually quite shocked that I had gotten into the schools.. in reality, they told me that they wouldn't have been too mad if I didnt go to college at all (after all, they didn't go to college in China) and were completely surprised when I called them and told them I had gotten into MIT first.. then Harvard,Yale and Princeton. Funny part is... they didn't really have a good grip of where I had applied or was applying until a week before decisions come in.</p>

<p>My H put me in charge of most of the college process for our kids. That job was made easier by the fact that both DD and DS handled their lists, applications, essays, deadlines and schoolwork all on their own. Their hs's were very helpful with workshops, monthly reminder lists and information, having college reps visiting, private meetings, etc. But we are very proud of the fact that they did the real work, and met all deadlines comfortably.</p>

<p>I helped with questions, organizing everything for the school visit trips (except making appointments with admissions offices--both S and D made those on the school websites) and staying in contact with their GC's (but only in an occasional information-gathering context, nothing pushy or confrontational!!). They both bounced a lot of ideas off of me, and I made sure I checked information about schools they were considering on their websites, and in the 2 college info books we had. Our D applied to 9 schools, S to 6 (they were 2 years apart in this process). In all, I have been to 23 colleges on visits (7 of those were more of a "drive-by") in 11 states. We did combine some of those visits with "family" trips or vacations, and we enjoyed seeing what was out there as H and I did not get to go looking at colleges before we went! </p>

<p>H handled all the financial paperwork.</p>

<p>We are getting a 2 year break before we start S2's college search. But we know that he is well aware of the process, has already seen quite a few schools, and has heard all of the advice!! If only he were as organized as his older siblings!!!!!!!! That will be one of our challenges with him.</p>

<p>I think parents who go on boards like these "helped out" a lot. </p>

<p>My parents don't really speak english, haven't been involved in my academic life since elementary school, and can't understand half of what's involved so...</p>

<p>But, I'm glad they didn't (or couldn't) "help." They REALLY never expected that I would be going to an east coast school and would have tried to prevent me from pursuing Columbia if they had anything to do with the process. But it's all good. Life can work out sometimes in strange ways</p>