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The College Application Process: A Parent's Checklist

The Education Conservancy developed this handy list of guidelines for parents:

  • Recognize that gaining admission to college is merely one step in a process of education that will include your student attending a college where she or he can maximize talents and growth. Emphasize the education.
  • Resist doing for your students what they are capable of doing for themselves.
  • Allow your child to take responsibility for his or her own part of the college application process. Be involved in the process, but do not try to control it.
  • Resist relying on rankings and college selectivity to determine the most suitable colleges for your child.
  • Realize that researching, selecting, and applying to colleges does not have to be an expensive process.
  • Resist attempts to turn the process into a status competition. Develop a healthy, educationally based, and family-appropriate approach to college admissions.
  • Consider that gaming the system may not only diminish your child's self-confidence, it may also jeopardize desired admission outcomes.
  • Listen to, encourage, and believe in your child. Do not use the term "we" as in "we are applying to…"
  • Discuss the idea of education as an ongoing process, and how selecting a college might be different from buying a product.
  • Love them enough to let them demonstrate the independence you have instilled in them.
  • Keep this process in perspective. Remember that student skills, self-confidence, curiosity, and desire to learn are some of the most important ingredients in a quality education and successful college admissions. Do not sacrifice these by overemphasizing getting into the "best" college.
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From The College Solution Copyright © 2008, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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