The transition from high school to college may be difficult for students, but it can also be a trying time for parents. There is emotional and even financial stress, often accompanied by a feeling of helplessness. As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your student get into college. Your role in the early admissions process is especially important. Here are four ways parents can aid the early admissions process and support their teen during this time of transition.
1. Understanding early admissions processes
While not all colleges offer early admissions, many do. At these schools, students can choose to apply early, which means they also receive an admissions decision early. In these cases, it may be easier for students to gain acceptance to a school.
Early admissions rules and regulations can vary by school, so it will be essential that you check out the specific processes at each school. Your student will also want to work with his or her guidance counselors to make sure everyone is on the same page. Some schools require that you only apply to one early admissions school, some are binding, and some can be declined – but only within a deadline. Make sure you and your student have all the facts before making an important decision.
2. Help your student explore colleges
Early admissions is a great option for students who are absolutely certain that they want to attend a particular college. As a parent, you can help your student make that decision. Support your child in his or her search for a college. You may help your student arrange campus visits (and transportation to and from them), interviews with professors, and tours of prospective departments.
While you don’t want to take the lead, offering support to your student can be invaluable during this time.
3. Help your student make a plan for financing education
One of the advantages of seeking admission to a number of schools is that it allows your family to compare different financial aid packages. If your student applies early decision, you may miss this opportunity. As a parent, you can help your student by sorting out possible solutions for paying for college, should he or she be admitted.
Sit down, outline a number of scenarios, and apply with a financial plan at the ready.
4. Remind your student to focus on his or her current classes
For students who are admitted to a college early, focusing on high school can be a bit of a challenge. Hypothetically, your student’s current grades are good – after all, he or she may have already been admitted to a prestigious school by applying early decision.
But this also means that your student may feel that his or her senior year is less important. Of course, this isn’t true – many scholarships are dependent on a student’s performance over all of his or her years in high school. Plus, some schools may require a student to maintain a certain grade point average all the way through high school. As a parent, help your student combat senioritis by reminding him or her that this year is equally important as those leading up to college admissions.
By following these general guidelines, parents can aid the early admissions process for their likely overwhelmed student. Remember that early admissions isn’t for everyone – in fact, only around 450 schools offer this option. Identify scenarios with your student and determine if it is the best option for your family. Then, offer your support to your student however it is needed. This can feel like a difficult time, but applying early admissions has a wealth of benefits – and your stress levels may decrease significantly once your student is in!