Kids & College Admissions: Where to Draw the Line


Stress, fear, and status are several reasons parents can cross the line allowing parents to “justify” doing whatever it takes to get their child into the “right” college. Parents can have too much invested in their kids at times—they put more thought into the name brand university then they do on the appropriate college being selected for their child’s talents, ability, and interest.

A big issue in this is the process of applying to college; not only is it competitive it can also be confusing. Parents can let the stress of it all push them to do things they know in their heart is not right leading to them justifying it by saying “Everyone is doing it.”

Parents will do these things to protect them from any negative feelings along with the perceived notion that they are not meeting up to their peers.

How much is too much help?

  • Writing, editing or rewriting an application essay
  • Filing out all of the application documents
  • Interfering in an interview or contacting university officials to strike a deal ensuring admission
  • Providing ways to cheat on college admissions exams

What parents can do to help:

  • Answer questions and give guidance when writing the essay only
  • Have your child fill out an admissions application. This does not mean you cannot help and assist with the information needed however they need to take the initiative to do this.
  •  Let all interviews take place between your child and the scheduled party. Parents can help kids practice for the interview however when the time comes it is their show.
  • Provide study books, tutors, practice sessions, etc. for SAT/ACT exams.
  • When a parent takes over and does everything for them regarding college admission this is telling your child you don’t trust them to do it on their own or their ability to do it.

Parenting Challenge: Begin talking about college way before the year before a child graduates. Discuss what they want to do with an evaluation of their aptitudes. Remember there are lots of post-secondary options for kids that can fit their interest, talents and abilities: military, community college, 4-year degree, technical/ certificate training. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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