Parents and students are like doubles partners when it comes to college admissions — both have to work in tandem to ensure a successful career. The best way to describe parents’ role in this partnership will be — Interactive & Evolving Collaboration. In three major areas, parents can take the lead, as the students, given the young age, may not be the best —
- Planning in advance: Help your child plan in advance, make a schedule.
- Adhering to deadlines: Help your child to mark the deadlines and make sure they adhere
- Financial matters: Understand the fee structure, scholarship opportunities, loan and other expenses
Universities continually encourage students and parents to begin the groundwork for college as early as 9th grade.
Top Tip: start by 11th grade, if not earlier.
Kicking off early results in ample time to collect essential college application information over multiple years from the teachers, fellow students, online groups, guidance counselors, etc. All those sources are doubtlessly important, but the source that’s most vital is you – The Parents. You are someone your children look up to and naturally believe in what you tell them from your experience and vast firsthand knowledge. The timeless quote from the greatest superhero series – Spiderman ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ couldn’t be more spot-on. As the guiding light of your teenaged children, you must ensure that you have done your homework.
To begin with, see to it that your child is involved (and preferably excels) in wide-ranging activities as the universities are looking for — Versatile Brilliance. The Fabulous Four elements that top colleges look for —
- Academic Accomplishments: Parents will have to make a schedule, as one would for dietary requirements, to make certain that the student’s time is allocated towards all the essential elements. They can oversee that she/he has consistently high scores in school and the all-important SAT/TOEFL, or other entrance exams.
- Extracurricular (Sports, MUNs, etc.): In the extracurricular sphere, parents should avoid asking their child to do something they don’t like, instead, let them get involved in activities they like naturally. The colleges want to know about the student’s affinities and abilities. Community participation is another factor.
- Community Participation: Parents can guide them towards various volunteering work, such as teaching underprivileged kids, rural welfare programs, raising funds for the elderly, upskilling the disabled so they can gain full-time employment, etc.
- Uniqueness or natural talent in doing something: For instance, a student who faced personal, social or other obstacles while growing up but still showcased versatile brilliance will stand out amongst others with the similar profile. It is just one example of distinctiveness. Every child is unique, help your child discover & sharpen theirs. Help them explore themselves and build their profile for university admissions.
Parents must collect tons of up-to-date information about colleges & have it all organized in an easy-to-follow-format. In fact, a spreadsheet with deadlines & targets to adhere to will keep the students right on track for glory.
Now, the Financial aspect, as not all the parents will be able to afford the acute tuition fee that foreign education. It is a hurdle that can be easily taken care of, with little effort. That’s where research and planning ahead pay off. Find out all the universities that provide scholarships and start working towards preparing the student to be eligible for those endowments. Though scholarships in the US/UK are no guarantee, parents have the option to send their child to fabulous European countries such as Germany, France, etc., which offer abundant 100% grants. Besides, bank loans & working part-time while studying abroad are limited options.
Some Don’ts for Parents:
- Do not write their college admission essays
- Do not choose their university/courses/program, let them suggest what they like the most
- Do not fill out their applications, only review and help them with edits.
Let them write their essays and choose the field that they enjoy the most. All parents must manage the line and not be too overbearing. Instead of making their decisions, help them find out what they want. Once they know their ambitions, they are already half-way towards fulfilling them.