How to Help Your Kids with College Applications: 5 Important Steps

How to Help Your Kids with College Applications 5 Important Steps

Amanda BurrowsAmanda Burrows
Writer | Mom

No matter what some people may claim these days, higher education matters greatly for professional success in life. It is your duty as a parent to explain this to your child and then help them to get into a good school. The college application process these days is extremely difficult, and you will need to do quite a bit of learning yourself in order to be equipped to provide the kind of help that your teenager needs.

If your teen doesn’t want to go to college at all, check these tips and discuss the matter with a cool head.

1.     Offer unconditional support

The most important thing you can do to help your child with the college application process is to be supportive. Never doubt your teen, or compare them to others, or make any disparaging comments about their choice of schools. What they need at this time is to be 100% sure that they have someone in their corner, because college applications can be stressful and teens will be insecure enough already due to puberty wreaking havoc with their hormones.

If the school your child chooses really is unsuitable, you should discuss this calmly with both parties being given an opportunity to explain their reasoning. It will be a good idea to work out a plan which will enable the child to apply to the school of their first choice, with a few others as ‘backup’.

2.     Create an application plan

As you won’t want to miss an opportunity as a result of having missed a deadline, it might be helpful to draw up an application plan. Once you have made a list of schools that your child wishes to apply to, mark the due dates for applications in your calendar and schedule visits (if possible).

Work on this schedule together and use reminder apps to help you keep up with it.

3.     Learn how to write an application essay

Writing a college application essay is the part where your child might need the most help. However it is also the part where you should do very little. It’s essential that your kids write that paper on their own as it will demonstrate their personality. However, you can help with the overall polishing of the essay. To do this you’ll need to look up how to write a good introduction, how to write essay conclusion, and some general college application essay writing tips. Then apply your new knowledge to help your child shape their thoughts and ideas into a compelling text that will impress the admissions staff.

Never forget that the quality of the writing itself matters as much as the passion behind the words and experiences described in the essay. Note that this paper has to be personal as a generic essay will most likely count against the applicant. You should not limit or even guide your child when they are working on that paper but instead restrict yourself to providing help with formatting, proofreading, and editing.

4.     Research financial aid options

Financial aid and an ability to manage finances are two of the most important things that can help kids through college. In many cases, scholarships and loans are the only way for the child to be able to receive a higher education at all. And it’s a fact that their availability might severely limit your options.

Therefore, research the aid options that you are eligible for first. Then use the College Board’s Net Price Calculator or a similar solution to help you to get some idea of how much studying in the school of your choice will cost and what aid options are available.

5.     Choose a school based on the child’s interests

Think long-term when helping your child choose their college, and be the voice of reason that will remind about the long-term plans to your child. It’s natural for teenagers to become impassioned about a topic, but education is something that will have an impact on their life.

This is why you should help your child to analyze their actual interests, the ones which have remained with them for years. You also need to have a discussion about how those interests can be translated into a career. Remember – be supportive but, ultimately, let your child decide and choose their own way.

Getting into college today is not easy, especially if your child is planning on studying at one of the top-ranking universities. Your help with applications might be a crucial aid to success, so be sure to do your research and support your child throughout the entire process. Bear in mind that emotional support is as important as practical help with the applications.

Amanda BurrowsAbout Amanda Burrows

Amanda Burrows is a professional writer with, a mother, and an expert in working with college admittance essays. She’s always happy to share her experiences and knowledge of the college admission policies with other parents.

View all posts by Amanda Burrows here.


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