How Much Independence Should Parents Give Their Kids in the Admissions Process?

How Much Independence Should Parents Give Their Kids in the Admissions Process?

I get the question a lot, “How much independence should parents give their kids in the admissions process?” especially from moms and dads who have not historically helped their kids with homework in high school. Parents who have trusted their kids for three years often feel now is the time to get more engaged. While it’s definitely understandable, it can be confusing for your self-starting student and send mixed signals. Your child may ask: “Don’t you trust me?” Or confidently state, “I know what I want and I don’t need you to help me to get in.”


On the other hand, if a child is used to the hands-on parent, and has a certain consistency or over-dependence on tutoring, they may not take the necessary initiative with this very important process. This can be a real problem. Essays have to be written, revised and proofread; deadlines have to be strictly adhered to, and organization is key and should not be taken casually.


This is where parents can help most: organization and scheduling. This is your child’s process and them, not you, must take the reigns on the execution of the applications. However, providing clerical structure to their fall schedules and having a final eye on the completion of essays and applications is extremely valuable.


Independence is tricky. We want our kids to soar but we know more than they do, and the college process is too complicated to trust to chance. Yes, not every parent is fortunate enough to have the education and/or resources to help their child with an independent college counselor or standardized testing tutor, but if you can do it, you should. Having an intermediary between parent and child is always a good thing. However, trusting that your child knows what’s at stake and will get this done, is something you may have to assess delicately. How your child tackles this process may tell you how ready they are to go to college, be away from home and use their time and your money wisely.


So, independence is good but hands off the wheel are not. Offer organizational assistance and a final eye on all essays. Do not hover, do not force your agenda and definitely do not live your life vicariously through them. Allow this time to be about your child’s self-discovery and your gradual loosening of total control.


Call us (917-727-1055) or send us an email and let us help you and your child get a start on the college admissions process this summer.


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