Although high school graduates have a character of their own, parents can still play a vital role in their important decisions about college education. You certainly want the best for your child, so you should help them choose an educational path that will lead them to a career they were meant for.

If your child is a junior or senior in high school, you are probably just as preoccupied with their college choice as they are. You shouldn’t be too influential and insist on a certain college that your child doesn’t want, but you can help them choose the option that is best for their needs.

The most important thing at this point is to have calm conversations and talk to your child about the advantages and disadvantages of different colleges. Take your child’s interests into consideration and try to find the best solution that will please everyone in the end.

Useful resources for college applicants:

About the parental influence

Parents usually have their own opinions about where their children should go to college. Some of them pressure their children too hard, only to lead them towards a career they don’t like. You should take a step back and make peace with the fact that your child is the one who needs to make the main decision. If you want them to be independent soon (which will happen when they go to college), you should allow them to make their own choices.

The huge number of postsecondary institutions in the USA can become overwhelming when it comes to making a choice. You should advice your child not to be led by the choice of a friend, but by their own feelings and dreams. Parental guidance is definitely appreciated during the college choice, but you should find the right balance and not turn your advice into pressure.

Remember that things are quite different from the times you were applying to college, so you should understand the new admission process and help your child realize what is expected from them as soon as possible. Meeting the school counselor may be a good idea at this point, as they are the best source of information when it comes to the admissions.

About the SAT prep process

If the high school your child is attending doesn’t offer prep courses for the SAT, you should definitely consider enrolling them in a specialized prep course, or at least get them a prep book for the SAT. Although your child may think you are obsessing too much, you should still take the time to quiz them each month.

Although the scores from the ACT and SAT aren’t the only factor that determines the decisions of college admissions, they still take an important part, especially when it comes to selective institutions.

The day of the SAT is one of the most stressful times your child will ever experience, so you should be as supportive as possible. Cook a healthy breakfast and don’t increase the stress by pressing them harder than they already are.

The value of college visits

College visits are very valuable for future students. It isn’t necessary to travel all over the country and visit as many colleges as you can, but you should definitely pay a visit to the colleges that made it into your child’s narrowed choice. First-hand experience does much more than what you can see and read online. You can turn the college visits into short weekend vacations and take the time for sightseeing of the environment. This will not only relax your child and take some of the pressure off, but will also help them make the right choice.

About the finances

Finances are one of the most difficult aspects of college education. No matter how uncomfortable this will be, you have to explain the reality of your financial situation, because you wouldn’t want your child to fall in love into a college you cannot afford. Make sure your child understands your limitations and the amount you are able to contribute towards their tuition and related costs. This shouldn’t prevent your child from applying to schools that are beyond that financial limit, but they should also apply for grants and scholarships that won’t require repayment.

Conclusion: additional tips and tactics

  • Being a supportive parent equals to being honest. Talk about your limitations and expectations to your child and explain why they are realistic.

  • Make a strong connection with your child, because they are probably feeling very pressured at this point of life. Talk about your own college adventures and bring that experience closer to them. If you didn’t have the chance to go to college, explain why that happened and how your life would be different if you went for higher education.

  • Information is a very valuable resource. Collect as much information as you can about the colleges your child is interested in, and make sure to support a choice of an academically and personally fulfilling institution. This is a life-changing decision, and proper guidance can be very valuable for your child.    

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