5 Dos and Don’ts of College Application Help for Parents

As a parent, you might be tempted to help your child with college applications as much as possible, but some types of help are better than others, and some may even be counterproductive.

College application submissions are some of the most stressful experiences high school graduates face, and most parents worry for their children’s ability to complete the right applications on time while coping with that stress. As a result, it’s natural to want to help your child as much as you can, but it’s important to make sure you give the right kinds of help.


·         Research the college application process and learn as much as you can. That way, you’ll be able to help your child with any questions he/she has throughout their experience.

·         Help your child stay organized with reminders of important deadlines. It’s easy to lose track of time, especially with multiple applications in the works. Reminders are an easy way to stay involved and give helpful guidance to your child.

·         Offer advice and guidance when your child requests it. Let your child make his/her own decisions, but offer help whenever he/she needs it.

·         Give support by asking about your child’s progress and listening to their concerns. A sympathetic ear can be very effective in reducing stress.

·         State your opinions without pressure. If you have a strong opinion about a certain school, be sure to voice it—but don’t actively try to persuade your child toward a certain choice.


·         Fill out any portion of the college application directly for your child. This is his/her responsibility.

·         Aggressively nag your child about completing his/her applications. It can be frustrating when your child isn’t taking the process as seriously as you’d like, but excessive nagging can be counterproductive.

·         Make cost a part of your application decisions. There are many financial assistance programs that can make attending virtually any college a possibility.

·         Choose colleges for your child. This is your child’s decision, and your child’s future.

·         Take responsibility for the application process. Don’t take over the entire experience by assuming responsibility for application submission. This is on your child’s shoulders.

College applications can never be perfect, but they can be managed effectively. In addition to giving your child the moral support they need, consider taking advantage of BOLD Guidance’s unique application management software—it will keep your child on track with his/her applications and give you insights into their progress so you can stay informed throughout.