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3 “Dont’s” For Parents of College Applicants

by Jocelyn Johnson, on Oct 16, 2014, 5:38:00 PM

With only 15 days until November 1st, the deadline for most Early Action and Early Decision options, the countdown to college is officially on. If you are the parent of a high school senior, you might be thinking “don’t remind me.” You want to do all you can to help your child get into their “dream school,” but there is a fine (if sometimes blurry) line between what helps and what has the potential to harm.

Yesterday, the Washington Post’s The Answer Sheet featured a post by Liz Willen, editor of The Hechinger Report, on ten things not to do when your child is applying to college. Here’s our thoughts on our top 3 favorite tips:

1.) “DO NOT begin every sentence with the phrase: ‘DID YOU DO…?’’

Why not?: This will likely be your child’s last year living at home. Do you really want their final memories of home to be clouded by constant accusations, micromanaging, and (constructive) criticism? Admissions season is stressful for everyone involved, but you can help alleviate some of your child’s stress by standing with, not against, them.


2.)  “DO NOT pin all your hopes on one or two colleges that felt right to you.”

Why not?: Even though you know your child better than anyone else, remember they are going to be the one in college, not you. Pressuring your child to go somewhere that they don’t feel is a “good fit” can ultimately come back to hurt them. Especially if they don’t make it through.


3.)  “DO NOT write any of your child’s essays. It will be obvious the voice is not theirs.”

Why not?: Admissions officers can quickly discern when an application essay sounds like it was written by a 42 year-old instead of a 17 year-old. The most helpful advice you can give to your child with regards to their essay is to encourage them use their own authentic voice.

Topics:High School and College

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