It’s important for your child to make his/her own decisions when applying to colleges, but you also want to help him/her as much as you can.
It can be difficult to give your child full control of his/her destiny. After all, for the past 18 years or so, you’ve helped guide them through the challenges of youth, school, and adolescence. As he/she starts to apply for colleges, the reality of his/her adulthood begins to set in, but the sheer importance of choosing a good college might tempt you to influence his/her eventual decision.
So how can you give your child help without taking control over the entire decision?
Instead of making decisions for your child, or pointing him/her in a specific direction, spend your time establishing different options for your child to consider. Instead of saying “apply to this specific school,” say “here is a list of schools you might want to consider.” Instead of saying “make sure to set up reminders of deadlines on your phone,” say “here are a handful of tools you might want to use to keep track of your deadlines.”
Of course, if your child comes to you with specific questions or a request for specific help, don’t shy away. You’re here to be his/her advisor, and share your own thoughts and opinions. What you want to avoid is steering your child in a certain direction, intentionally or unintentionally. If your child is to remain in control of the college application process, as he/she should, your goal should be the provision of information and resources above all else.
If you’re interested in using technology to help your child stay organized and keep yourself in the loop, consider the BOLD Guidance app, available for free for a limited time. With it, you’ll be able to set up automatic deadline reminders and watch your child’s progress without directly injecting yourself into the process.