Parent's Survival Guide

These are important steps toward independence for your student. It can be a worrisome time for parents, too! Chances are it is an emotional time for your student, too.

Students want to feel like they are making mature decisions about their future, but still need you to be a sounding board and will seek your advice on navigating the journey to college.
  • Enjoy the moments leading up to college. It can be easy to be consumed about departure day, but instead relish the senior year and summer before he or she heads off to college. Keep your emotions in check and share your excitement for this next adventure rather than your worry and sadness.
  • You’re not alone, but you might be the summer before college. Students want to spend time with friends, earn money by working and exert a little more independence. This is normal so expect to see a little less of your student in those months.
  • Reduce your involvement. You've done great work raising your student and it’s time to let them mature and make some decisions on their own. They will always need you for love and support, but it’s ok to let go a little more now and begin to develop with them more of an adult relationship.
  • While they’re away... A note, a care package can mean a lot to your student. Don’t go overboard, but simply let them know you are thinking of them during exam time, a birthday, or when they get sick.
  • Prepare for a new normal. When your student comes home from college, expect them to be a little different. They are growing more independent living on their own. Give them that space when they come home to visit.
Review and share this smart checklist you and your student can follow as they journey through the college search process during high school.

View Checklist

With so many options and college brochures coming in the mail, it can be confusing for your student.

Consider these tips to help your student narrow down their college choices.

  1. Ask them about proximity. How far away from home is comfortable and logistical?
  2. Understand what majors interest them. Point them to their high school counselor to see which colleges offer the major(s). Help them research the career opportunities in those majors.
  3. Are scholarships available at those schools to make the cost of college less challenging?
  4. Determine how big is too big of a campus for them and could they succeed on a smaller campus with smaller class sizes.
  5. Accompany them on the college visits. Meet with admissions to talk candidly about requirements to attend (grades and ACT or SAT scores) and the cost of tuition and ways to reduce the cost.
  6. Encourage them to keep track of upcoming application deadlines. Let them tape those deadlines on the fridge or set alarms on their smartphones so they don’t let them slide by.
  7. Give them some room to contemplate their decision. Ask them to present the pros and cons of the colleges they are considering. Those conversations encourage objective thinking that creates more mature and independent college students! Get the Pros & Cons Worksheet [Link to Worksheet Page]

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