With the college admissions game being more stressful than ever before, parents can play a unique role in making sure their children are ready as application season rolls around. From helping your student optimize their schedule to getting your financials in order, preparing your teen for university will require time, energy, and patience.
Drawing up a detailed application to-do list is perhaps the most crucial piece in readying your child for a monumental life transition. After all, school, degree, and career path drastically impact college students’ experiences and earning potential for the rest of their lives. Take advantage of the many tips-and-tricks available to stressed-out parents and help your child dodge every obstacle they may face.
Encourage your child to enroll in an International Baccalaureate program
One of the best ways to help prepare your anxiety-ridden highschooler for college life is encouraging them to enroll in International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. IB programs cultivate independent learning skills and allow students to earn college credit through IB course exams. Though credit acceptance varies by university, IB diplomas offer a college application boost regardless of transferable credits.
Pick the right standardized test
Rather than wasting precious studying or extracurricular activity time on unwanted standardized exams, advise your child to take one of the two approved American college entrance exams. By taking both a practice SAT and ACT, your student can figure out where their skillset shines, maximizing their time and potential. Once they’ve taken a practice exam, choose the assessment most likely to bolster their academic record.
Think extracurricular quality vs. quantity
Most big-name universities prefer students who have excelled in a handful of extracurriculars rather than showcasing minimal involvement in six different activities. When talking to your student about high school pursuits, encourage them to pick a route with leadership potential. Remember – it’ll look much better if your student can score a first-chair position after three years on the violin than if they pick a new activity each year.
Write an authentic application essay
College admissions departments get thousands of essays every year about crushing sports injuries and tragic childhoods. Help your child stand out by encouraging them to focus on an unusual topic, such as a favorite hobby or a unique aspect of their background. Avoid cliches and overused stories to stick out amongst the sea of essays.
Take advantage of the family calendar
Between scheduling campus visits to remembering application deadlines, there’s a lot to remember during college admissions seasons. Help your student keep track by writing down all college-related dates on the family calendar. That way, you’ll never miss a deposit deadline or double-book a campus tour.
Empower your child to make their own decisions
While your student will ultimately look to you for guidance, keep in mind this is their decision, and you’re there for moral support. Encourage your child to contact admissions on their own if they have any questions to promote independence while showing interest in top-ranked universities. Similarly, advise your student how to ask a teacher for a stellar letter of recommendation – but stop short of asking the teacher yourself.
Students have a lot to accomplish, from enrolling in IB classes to writing the perfect application essay before receiving the ever-coveted college acceptance letter. By encouraging your student to pick the right standardized test and engaging in appropriate extracurriculars, you can help bring your senior one step closer to their dream school.