Remember the good ole days? The 80's when you were graduating from high school? The landscape looked different then. Applying to college required using the card catalog at the local library, looking up phone numbers in a phone book, requesting a paper application, filling it out and sending it back through snail mail. To say that the college admissions process has changed would be an understatement!
Each spring, I am reminded of the wonderful yet "thrilling" songs from the 80s. They have a way of taking me back to my own college acceptances and rejections, so I incorporated a few of them into some thoughts to help you, as the parent, navigate the college admissions process with your own student.
Get out those cassette tapes, I-pods or your Walkman if you still have it.😃
How on earth will you know how to navigate this crazy process? Be sure to update yourself with valuable resources like this. The process is exciting but can be a bit overwhelming, it is best to get started early.
Livin' on a Prayer Bon Jovi 1986
This is how I felt each day during the spring. I never knew what to expect from my teen. The constant stress of waiting and wondering where they would be accepted sometimes took its toll on the emotions of my teen. These are the days I tried to give extra patience and offer encouragement. I wanted them to know I would be proud of them no matter what decision they made and tried to keep my mouth shut, realizing this was their "journey," not mine.
When the letter comes, DO NOT OPEN IT! Your student earned it, let them have the joy of opening it and telling you the good news. Then take the time to CELEBRATE! This is a huge accomplishment.
Rejections will come. It is just part of the process. Help your student learn to deal with these in a healthy way. Resist the urge to overprotect them and shield them from the pain. Understanding disappointment will help them be better prepared for adulthood. Realizing they were rejected because of statistics, rather than personal character may be comforting.
The "Journey" ( no pun intended ........ well maybe) will get long. Keeping things organized, continuing to visit schools, making contact with admissions counselors and keeping grades up will all prove to be helpful disciplines to have in the process. Don't give up! It will be worth it in the end.
KNOW YOUR NUMBERS. Knowing how your GPA, class rank and most importantly, test scores stack up in the competition will give you a realistic view of which schools are a good fit for your student. I recommend having safety schools where your student should easily be admitted, realistic schools and stretch schools all on the list of schools your student is applying to.
This has nothing to do with anything, but sometimes you as the parent just need to take a break and do something you enjoy to keep your sanity so you can better encourage your student through this process.:) Take a few moments, let your hair down and practice those 80's dance moves.
Overall, the best thing you can do is to be there and quietly support your student. Always have open arms to welcome them and let them know you believe in them.