It’s tempting to give your child all the help you can possibly give, but there are some types of help that are counterproductive.
As you watch your child get nervous and stressed about the challenges of college applications, your instincts might drive you to step in wherever you can. While it’s important to guide your child through the process when you have the opportunity, not all types of help are beneficial.
It’s important for your child to establish his/her independence when applying for colleges. His/her college life will ultimately set a course for his/her early adulthood, so you want to make sure you aren’t interfering with his/her decisions to the point where he/she loses control.
These are four types of help you should avoid giving during the college application process:
1. Choosing colleges. If your child has a specific type of college in mind, it’s perfectly acceptable to suggest a handful of similar colleges, or do some research to see what kind of competition is out there. But if you force your child to apply to specific colleges, you’ll cross the line.
2. Writing essays. This is a big no-no. Colleges want to see your child’s character come through in his/her essays. Writing his/her essays for him/her compromises the entire process.
3. Excessive nagging. Deadlines for college applications are complicated and difficult to manage, but nagging your child about them isn’t going to help. It’s only going to make things even more stressful for him/her.
4. Mandating a process. It’s helpful to give your child organizational options, like the BOLD Guidance app, but don’t force your child to use any one particular method.
Instead of these types of help, focus on giving your child the resources and information he/she needs in order to make an educated decision. It’s fine to share your opinions and give advice, but the more control and independence you give your child, the better.