Tips for Parents: Dos and Don'ts for Helping Your Child Through College Admission
The college search and admission process is a life-changing event for your child, and often for the whole family. The beginning of the college search signals the beginning of a child's transition from teenager to young adult. As a result, it can be difficult for parents to strike the right balance of helping their child without taking over. Here are some dos and don'ts for parents entering the world of college admission.
DO Learn About the Process
Even if you have vivid memories of your own college decisions, realize that the college admission process has changed since you attended. Whether or not you attended college, invest some time in reading up about today's college admission. There are many good books on this topic in your public library or bookstore, and high schools often sponsor workshops for parents on college admission topics. Or ask you child's counselor to recommend helpful resources.
DO Discuss Restrictions Up Front
If there are financial or geographic restrictions that limit the range of colleges your child can consider, discuss them with your child at the beginning of the college search. Then your child won't waste time and energy researching colleges that she won't be able to attend.
DON'T Limit Choices Based on Fees
"Parents should certainly be willing to lay out economic realities to their children at the front end of the college search process, but should not shut out options based purely on sticker price," says Michael E. Dessimoz, associate vice president for enrollment services at Roosevelt University (IL). It's always a good idea to encourage your child to include several affordable colleges among his college choices. But remember that financial aid often helps families send their children to even the most expensive colleges. No matter your income level, find out all you can about financial aid. Your child's guidance counselor or colleges' financial aid offices can direct you to good resources and answer your questions about how financial aid works.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. © 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling.
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