By Dr. Jon Reider, advisor with iAdmissions.com
The college admissions process takes its toll on students and parents alike, with students trying to stay afloat during the barrage of academic and extracurricular expectations, and parents trying to tread the, at times, indistinguishable line between “supportive” and “over-bearing”.
Fortunately Dr. Jon Reider, former Associate Director of Admissions at Stanford from 1985-2000, has offered to shed some light on the most effective ways to support your child during the, oftentimes, overwhelming college admissions process:
1) Parents, remember first and foremost that this is your child’s college experience about to unfold, not your chance at a second time around for yourself. You may very well possess strong values, worldly knowledge, and impressive successes, but your child is a separate human being. As such, he or she must be able to learn how to take responsibility for his or her own decisions- that necessity officially starts now.
2) Your child’s success in getting into the desired college is completely his or her own, not yours. It is tempting to want to appropriate the achievement for yourself. After all, your support has been integral to your child’s development. But you must separate yourself in order to maintain your sanity, and your child’s sanity. This is not to say that you cannot be proud of your child. In fact, you absolutely should be. Just keep the entire process in perspective. And if you have not done so already, look up the definition of “Helicopter Parents, or worse, “Black Hawk Parents”, and by all means avoid everything they do!
3) Pay as little attention to rankings, ratings, and other supposedly scientific or objective information about a college’s prestige. More than anything else, these rankings are marketing tools and designed for mass consumption. The most important and interesting conclusions about a college do not come from glitzy PR campaigns, but rather from personal experience, so talk to as many actual people as possible about potential colleges.
4) During your collegiate research, read books that take sincere and honest looks at colleges and at the admissions process. There is a great book that I recommend to parents all the time called “Colleges That Change Lives.” Colleges change lives, not resumes, and the collegiate experience is about probing your authentic self and exploring your genuine values.
5) The fundamental proposition that I can offer to you to alleviate the greatest amount of stress is that, at the end of the day, you only need one college that you like to accept you. You child does need to be accepted by every Ivy League college to be a complete person. Trust me, being moderate about your expectations will spare you from a lot of anguish and heartbreak.
Dr. Reider is currently an advisor to iAdmissions.com , a network of former admissions officers specializing in affordable, online college counseling programs.
Please note, iAdmissions has graciously agreed to provide us with an affiliate referral fee which we use to help cover the cost of running this website
-Don’t skip freshmen orientation or any similar new student sessions. This is one of the few (if any) times you will get a structured introduction to the college, covering important topics such as resources, facilities, and other useful information.
-There is a lot of useful and current info on college websites. Be sure to check back periodically for useful updates and important changes.
-Use a map to schedule classes so you don’t end up running all over campus to get to your next class.
-You’ve have probably already started getting a bunch of junk mail from vendors who are targeting new college students and families. You will also be getting mail from various departments and groups from your college. Make sure you look carefully for anything coming directly from your college, since you might be receiving important documents, receipts, deadline information, etc. So, make sure you don’t throw away anything without carefully examining its contents.
-To get off to a good academic start, you might want to take a required pre-requisite course like math at a local college during the summer. Its a great advantage to get a tough course out of the way, and it might save you some money. Be sure your course fully transfers to whatever college you are attending.
-If you already know what English or Lit class you’ll be taking this fall, try to find out the reading assignments in advance, and read one of your books in advance in the summer. You’ll have plenty to do once school starts, so it makes sense to get a head start.
-Carefully examine your dorm room and report any damage or issues before you move in. You don’t want to have to pay for something you weren’t responsible for at the end of the year.
For the parents, college brings a lot to worry about. Are they eating? Are they safe? Are they doing well in school? College is just as much a transition for the student as it is the parent.Read More