College Unfold

The Balancing Act: Navigating Helpful and Harmful Parental Actions in College Admissions

Harmful and

Helpful Parental Actions in the College Admissions Process

Navigating the college admissions process can be a daunting task for both students and their parents. It is a time filled with high stakes and intense emotions, as families strive to secure a spot at their desired university.

However, while parental involvement can be helpful, it can also become detrimental if taken to extreme measures. In this article, we will explore harmful and helpful parental actions in the college admissions process, providing insight and guidance for families going through this challenging period.

Harmful Parental Actions

1. Pushing too hard

The desire for their child’s success can lead some parents to push them too hard, resulting in excessive rigor, sleepless nights, and anxiety.

While it is important to encourage and support your teen, it is equally crucial to recognize and respect their limits. Pushing them beyond their capabilities can have detrimental effects on their mental and physical health.

2. Getting obsessed with how your teen spends their summer

Some parents feel the need to micromanage every aspect of their child’s life, including how they spend their summer break.

This obsession often manifests itself in a quest for original and highbrow activities or expensive summer programs, all with the aim of making their child’s college application stand out. However, it is essential to remember that genuine experiences and personal growth cannot be bought or manufactured.

3. Over-focusing on a single prestigious school

The “University X or bust” mindset is a harmful parental action that puts undue stress on both the parent and the student.

It is important to broaden the scope of college options and encourage your teen to explore a range of schools. Fixating on a single prestigious institution can create unnecessary pressure and disappointment if admission is not granted.

4. Taking over college tours

Visiting colleges is an exciting and informative experience for students.

However, some parents take it upon themselves to dominate these visits, bombarding admissions staff with inappropriate queries and filtering questions based on their own biases. This behavior not only hinders the student’s ability to explore and ask questions but also paints an inaccurate picture of their independence and ability to make decisions.

5. Emailing/calling the admissions staff on behalf of your son or daughter

While it is natural to want to advocate for your child during the college admissions process, sending crazy emails or making constant phone calls to the admissions staff is counterproductive.

Admissions decisions should be made based on the student’s qualifications and achievements, not their parent’s persistence. It is crucial to let your child handle communications and take ownership of their own admissions process.

Helpful Parental Actions

1. Provide quality control

Being a supportive parent during the college admissions process means taking on the role of a manager.

This entails ensuring that deadlines are met, applications are complete, and necessary paperwork is submitted. By providing quality control, parents can alleviate some of the stress associated with the process and help their child stay organized.

2. Go over post-secondary finances together

One of the most crucial aspects of college planning is discussing financial realities with your child.

Instead of presenting them with an Enron-style business plan, sit down together and review the family’s financial situation. Discuss potential loans and their impact on future finances, ensuring that your child understands the implications of their decisions.

3. Encourage autonomy & student-ownership of the process

While it is important to be involved, it is equally vital to encourage your teen to take ownership of the college admissions process.

Allow them to communicate independently with admissions staff and take charge of their own emails and inquiries. Encouraging autonomy not only fosters a sense of responsibility but also helps develop essential young adulthood skills.

In conclusion, the college admissions process can be a challenging time for students and parents alike. While parental involvement is important, it is crucial to strike a balance and avoid harmful actions that may hinder a student’s growth and well-being.

Instead, focus on providing support, guidance, and quality control in a way that fosters independence and autonomy. By doing so, you can help your teenager navigate this significant milestone with confidence and success.

In conclusion, the college admissions process is a time filled with high stakes and intense emotions for both students and parents. While parental involvement can be helpful, it is crucial to avoid harmful actions that can hinder a student’s well-being and growth.

Pushing too hard, obsessing over summer activities, fixating on a single prestigious school, taking over college tours, and excessively contacting admissions staff can all have negative effects. Instead, parents should focus on providing quality control, discussing post-secondary finances together, and encouraging autonomy and student-ownership of the process.

By striking a balance and fostering independence, parents can support their child’s journey to college success. Remember, the college admissions process is just one step in the broader development of a young adult, and it is important to prioritize their overall well-being and growth.

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