How involved are parents in their child's college admissions process?

<p>Obviously, as parents on this forum, many of you are actively involved in helping your child select and apply to a college. Many of you probably ask your children to report their SAT/ACT scores to you, their grades, what colleges their going to, and you will also probably ask to proof-read their essays. </p>

<p>However, when I went through the admissions process, my parents intervened as little as possible. I suppose it's somewhat a comfort, seeing that they weren't pressuring me to meet certain expectations, but there is a regret that they weren't overseeing this huge transition in education. </p>

<p>So, I just wanted to ask, how much involved are parents in this whole (or)deal? And how do your kids feel about your involvement?</p>

<p>My involvement began with taking my kids to see the colleges they were interested in.
I proof-read their essays, but because they asked me to do so.</p>

<p>I gave my opinion about whether or not I felt the colleges were well suited for their needs and wants.
I kept informed on events and testing..went to the financial aid nights sponsored by the guidance dept.
I have been active in searching for scholarships that would be attainable for them and have assisted in helping them get into various community service programs ( made calls and appointments for medical tests, and transported goods collected from donations that were too cumbersome for a car to transport )
As far as I am concerned, any help a parent can give in attempts to get scholarships benefits not only the student, but the family finances as a whole.</p>

<p>I will say, that I learned a few lessons along the way from D1 to D2, and they seem to have paid off in terms of scholarships.
My kids are pleased that the majority of work was done by them, but a little help along the way benefitted them too. Support, not control and domination of the process.</p>

<p>I was very involved. We wanted our S to focus on schoolwork this year rather than on the mountain of administrative work that goes along with college applications. I have been on this forum for 3 years, since our older S went through the process, so I have been informally researching schools for younger S (now a sr.) since then.</p>

<p>I told S what I had found out about different schools with programs he'd be interested in. I'd send him website links, he'd look over them, and we'd talk about the pros and cons of each. After we narrowed it down, I printed off the admissions requirements for each and made lists of all the deadlines. He was applying for film production, so there were extra essays, extra recs, etc., and it was kind of complicated.</p>

<p>S worked on his essays and on getting letters of recommendation. He sent me a list of all his activities and awards and how much time he'd spent on each. I typed it up into a resume. When the time came, he filled out the apps, and we worked together to assemble everything to send in.</p>

<p>this is a subject that comes up quite often, and in the past has spawned controversy on what's appropriate. I was very involved w/ D1's....the decisions were all hers, all the info on the apps were all hers, but I helped her stay organized and served gladly as her "secretary". I'll probably do the same for D2, but there are lots of different dynamics there, so who knows?!!!</p>

<p>A lot of the parents of Jrs on these boards have kids who are taking multiple APs and keeping up with time consuming ECs. Finding the time to research colleges is tough. I don't think I am alone in that I have done lots of research for them keeping in mind the parameters my kids have established for me. If I find a school I think they'll like I tell them about it and if they want to explore it further they will. I organize college visits at their request but I have included visits to other schools in the area that they may find interesting. </p>

<p>When it's time to fill out the applications they will choose where to apply. I will help with the clerical and gopher stuff. I'll read essays if asked and I will help establish an organizational system to help them keep on track with due dates etc. As I always have been, I will be the support system but the stuff that shows who they are and what they are capable of will be theirs as will the ultimate decision.</p>

<p>I pretty much second everything lje62 says with emphasis on finances. If we are paying tuition, then I expect to be kept informed. When student pays his own way entirely, then I do not need to be informed. I think ultimately finances are a big factor for just about everyone; good communication is key between parents and students during the admissions process.</p>

<p>I would consider us NOT very involved. Sure, we planned the college visits; we had the credit cards. But our son choose all the schools. I knew the deadlines and did my share of nagging, but he completed the applications on his own. He dealt with the guidance department; he secured his own letters of recommendation; he followed up with guidance. When transcripts didn't get to one school, he went to the guidance counselor and took care of it. I never even read his essays.</p>

<p>I continue to research scholarships, but that's because we committed to provide the college education. When I find possibilities, my son does the entire application on his own. I am not his secretary, and believe that the student needs to take control of his/her own college app process. If the student is applying to so many colleges that their regular academic requirements aren't being met, then something's wrong. Scale back.</p>

<p>If they can't complete the college app process on their own, how will they possibly survive college itself and living 3000 miles away from parents (in my son's case)? How can we let them?</p>

<p>I consider the college admissions process as a bonding experience. I would miss it If I dont't get involved. I think of it as a last chance before she leaves home for college. I'm sure my daughter can do it by herself which she has done on countless events.</p>

<p>my parents weren't that involved with researching colleges and college applications. The only thing they did was take me to visit schools that I was interested in and they listened to me when I felt the need to talk about college with them. I'm extremely organized, so I didn't mind having to organize all of my applications and deadlines, and research colleges.</p>

<p>When I was in high school the GC made it very clear that the applicants should always contact the admissions office themselves (no email then, just phones!) if they had questions or concerns, NEVER the parents. I have seen CC postings from parents saying "I called the admissions office..." I wouldn't do that; the kids really have to learn how to make business calls on their own!</p>

<p>I think I was somewhere in the middle. I started a spreadsheet with the names of colleges I thought D might be interested in, then she honed it down, removed schools, added schools, added different categories, etc. I went to Staples and bought her a box and some colored file folders, then she made up files for all her stuff. Things like that. I didn't do any writing, didn't look over her applications, but I did read a couple of her essays, at her request. I did arrange the visits, because, as someone else said, I have the credit cards. I never sat down with GC, but I did attend the info nights, alone; my D didn't go to those. One college that I called to arrange a visit/interview was a little abrupt with me and said something along the lines of 'when the STUDENT can call back', and I was thinking.... um, the STUDENT is in school when you are open. She's at the school at 6am, and she comes home around 5:30pm. So when is she supposed to call you? </p>

<p>When I went to college, I don't remember my parents being involved at all. I only visited one college, and that was with a friend and HER parents. </p>

<p>I do agree that this has been a bonding experience. I have enjoyed visiting the schools and spending time with my D and talking to her about her plans for the future. I thought about taking my youngest along on the visits, and then decided not to, so that I could have the one-on-one time.</p>

<p>My experience with number 1 was much like jude_36, moderately involved. Made and paid travel arrangements for visits, went on some trips but not all. Made a spreadsheet. Did not review applications. Read a couple essays, but not all. Went to the parents nights. Made the envelopes and labels for the GC office for sending the transcripts. Paid for the tests. Filled out the FAFSA. Delivered one of the local scholarship was collaborative and within reason.</p>

<p>I was involved in much of it. I suggested some schools that my kids might want to consider in addition to the ones they had already thought about, made travel arrangements for visits, helped keep track of deadlines, and proofread anything I was asked to proofread. Also, starting fairly early in high school, I talked with my kids about high school course selections and extracurriculars as they relate to colleges, and we discussed the SAT Subject Tests extensively by the time they were in 10th grade. (I wanted to make sure that they made course choices that would allow them to take the Subject Tests they needed and get adequate scores.)</p>

<p>My kids told me their SAT/Subject Test/AP scores because they knew I was interested. It was never a matter of requiring them to report anything. I knew their grades because their high school report cards were sent to parents. But if not, I'm sure they would have told me anyway. They usually tell me their grades on college tests and certainly their course grades. (Let's face it: about the only person you can brag to when you get an A is your parent. And certainly, the only person you can complain to when you get an A minus when you were hoping for an A is your parent. If you do either of these things with your friends -- many of whom may have gotten Bs or Cs -- it's obnoxious.)</p>

<p>But my kids made their own decisions about where to apply and which colleges to attend. In my daughter's case, there were a couple of schools that she considered that my husband objected to, but since in the end she did not apply to either of those colleges, I don't know whether he would actually have forbidden her to apply if she had decided that she wanted to include them in her list.</p>

<p>My kids were not candidates for financial aid. If they had been, I think it would have been necessary for me or my husband to be much more involved.</p>

<p>Even this year, when my son was applying to graduate schools, we certainly talked about it a lot and I nagged a bit about deadlines. But in this instance, I was not qualified to help with the choices of where to apply, and the visits didn't come until after he was accepted (at which point he and the people from the graduate schools made the travel arrangements). And the financial aid at this point in his life will be in the form of a teaching or research assistantship, so our family's financial situation is not relevant. I still proofread anything I am asked to proofread, though.</p>

<p>Long ago, when I was the one applying to colleges, my parents were much less involved, probably because they had not been to college themselves and knew nothing about the process. They filled out financial aid forms when I asked them to, and they refused to allow me to apply to one college that interested me because of its urban location, but that was it. When the time came to decide which college to attend, there was no disagreement. The college that gave me the best financial aid (their most important concern) was also the best school academically of those that had accepted me (my most important concern). The decision process consisted of, "You are going to X University, aren't you?" "Yes, of course."</p>

<p>My parents didn't do a thing apart from filing their taxes early for the FAFSA/CSS. And I preferred it that way.</p>

<p>"My parents didn't do a thing apart from filing their taxes early for the FAFSA/CSS. And I preferred it that way."

<p>Following is a copy of my post for "Did you Ever Quit a Job to Help with College Apps?", but is actually more appropriate for this thread. I work part-time and had time to help my son. He was admitted EA for fall 2008 at Stanford. I think that unless your family is wealthy enough to pay everything for your child's college education or your child is so brilliant that he can get merit$ for all expenses, then the college application procedure is a family project. My son did all of the HEAD work for his application: researched schools, decided where to apply and visit; wrote essays; picked who to ask for letters of rec; decided on all high school coursework; chose all EC's and which to mention on apps; how many times to take SAT/ACT(once each). I did all of the SECRETARIAL work; entered data in online and paper forms; kept track of deadlines, gathered and input financial info for CSSProf, FAFSA and IDOC. He is extraordinarily grateful for the many hours that I saved him, which helped him to get the great grades, participate in the EC's, focus on essay writing and do all the things a kid needs to do to get into the school of his dreams. He did not overdo the EC's. He gets a good night's sleep every night (his choice). So do I, knowing that the financial information was correctly entered, thus helping his chance for financial aid. Wherever money that I must provide is involved, I will be hovering along with the other helicopter parents.</p>

<p>After talking with D, tried to set a general strategy -- involved athletics so it was a bit tricky. Proof read early essay's then did less and less as process moved on. So moderate amount.</p>

<p>Archiemom -- am so glad to hear someone else allowed essays to be mailed without a parent reading them first. My friends thought I was nuts when I allowed my son to do that first time around. But he was very independent and adamant he didn't want any help. Seems to have worked out fine in the end but it was a leap of faith at the time.</p>

<p>This time around I am just doing early research to give dd some guidance as to where to start -- then its up to her to ask for whatever assistance she wants or needs.</p>

<p>We did what cachememory said. Financial information. Never even saw the essays. It was better that way for us, because I know that we would have been tempted to "help". We accompanied the kids on tours and all that, but no help in filling out the apps, or anything. I actually think it is very sweet the way parents do so much for their children. Every person is different and this was just best for our family.</p>

<p>My mom listened too me b!t(h and moan about apps, read some essays and filled out my fin. aid applications. Thats it. I did all research, picked all of my courses, signed up for an online SAT prep course (with mommy's visa), registered for all of my SAT/ACT test dates, kept track of all deadlines, decided where to apply EA, and filled out all application (including the secretarial work), by myself. If I'm going to be out on my own, I think its important to learn to do things for myself, including brainless sectretarial type work.</p>