Support Your Teen Through Their College Journey

There are many ways parents of high school students can help their teen during their college search and application process. Sometimes it means stepping away and letting go (think of it as practice for their launch) which is an important step towards supporting the independence needed to successfully manage all-things-college. For parents of seniors you know they are working hard fall semester, not only in school, but in providing answers in their applications to help schools understand who they are, what is essential to them for their college experience, and why they would be the best applicant to accept. They are completing applications, writing essays, crossing their T's and dotting their I's and will be doing this throughout the fall and potentially into January. It's important to keep in mind that your senior has a college list and goals that are unique for their aspirations and strengths and "staying in their lane" will help them maintain their focus and goals. The fall is task-driven, and a good dose of levity, support, and assurances will make the time better for everyone.

Limiting “college talk” to mutually agreed upon times within the week is one concrete strategy that allows seniors the time and opportunity to accomplish tasks on their own and communicate to you when needing more support. Help your senior learn to pivot away from the onslaught of well-intentioned questions about their college search and application process. For friends, neighbors, and relatives the entry point for a conversation with any junior or senior is often about school and college. While those chats can start off in a good place, they can quickly move into talk of "a dream school," "top schools," "how hard it is to get into college these days," all of which are not helpful. Sometimes, changing the subject or asking a question may help to shift the conversation to something everyone wants to talk about. Looking for more ideas on how to pivot? This Washington Post article is packed with advice and ideas on what a “pivot” can entail.

Getting ready to launch is not limited to preparation for the dorm drop off. It can also include what you have to look forward to in addition to what you need to know right now. Just as it’s important for seniors to stay in their lane during the application season, it’s equally important for parents to see the road ahead and how to navigate the stretch they are headed toward. Try these 6 tips to help make the college application process and senior year go well. Got A Senior In High School? 6 Smart Ideas for Parenting Senior Year. The college search and application process is an optimal time for parents and teens to re-shift who’s in charge and let teens practice ownership of responsibilities, while still having a safety net in place. By taking the lead on this shift, parents can instill confidence in their teen’s ability to be college-ready.

What else can parents do this fall?

Help send test scores. Make reservations for any last-minute college visits or spring decision visits. Be ready to fill out the FAFSA and CSS, which opens October 1st. Gather financial documents and read the articles below to help you be prepared.​

What Parents Need to Know About Applying for FAFSA and the Financial Aid Process, Megan Gorman

How To Fill In FAFSA And CSS Profile: 14 Tips For The Most Financial Aid, David Rate

The Parent’s Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA® Form

Have a junior in high school who is just getting started with building a college list, doing research or planning college visits? These articles will help you establish a balanced perspective on what to expect.​

Ask What Matters, Not Where Mary Hofstedt

De-bunking College Admission Myths, Dr. Denise Pope

Six Ways to Work With Your College Counselor, Willard Dix

Three Fears About Applying to College and How to Address Them Thomas Golden, Ph.D.

What I Wish I Knew During the College Search Process, DayTripperUniversity​

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