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College Applications: The Parents' Finish Line


College applications…does it feel like sprinting to the finish line? How we handle this stressful period can stretch our parenting skills to the limit. I’m almost at the finish line with my high school senior and here are some thoughts.

As moms we have a choice in the application process. A) We can hover over our kids and micromanage each step to ensure they check the right boxes, proofread their essays, and make sure they list working for a family member in their resume. B) We may choose to hire a college counselor to manage the whole thing (this is great as it can relieve you of the “nudge” factor!). However, counselors are expensive and perhaps the pocket book doesn’t allow for this luxury. Lastly, option C) Let them do it themselves, deadlines and all!

Very few parents will choose the last option (at least the parents I know) as the process is too important to leave it up to your teen to undertake on his or her own. It’s a tough decision, one many parents struggle with, I know I did. Just stepping back and looking at it from the big picture, isn’t this process a life lesson? I mean, don’t our children need to learn to navigate life without us guiding them through every step? They’ll soon be launched into the world of universities where they’ll have to navigate classes, meal choices, time management, social elements…basically real life! There should be some kind of rehearsal? Maybe the college application process is “said” rehearsal. Something to ponder.

So, if you’re in that sticky spot of parenting through this process, take the time to make a conscious choice as to how you want to manage the process. Make the choice that seems right for your circumstance and your child. Otherwise you’ll just stumble into it, like a deer in headlights, and most likely want to rip your hair out in frustration as the unofficial captain of the college ship. Approach the process with a plan that you’ve discussed with your spouse and then talk to your college-bound child. Having a definitive plan will reduce the potential stress that can lie ahead. Also, taking long baths at night with bubbles and listening to Jack Johnson is highly recommended! (Candles optional).

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