Your college search is a major production, and everyone you know has a role to play. For the show to run smoothly, all the players must know their roles and receive proper direction. Your parents, friends, teachers and mentors can all get into the act, but you are the director. If they try to hog the stage in your college search, they will do more harm than good.
Your parents should:
- Be the “back seat” drivers in the college search process
- Know that things have changed since their college days
- Not compare you with others
- Be realistic and non-judgmental
- Not overemphasize their alma maters
- Help you understand the college search and admission process
- Stay focused on your search and be aware of deadlines and fees
- Be open to dialogue and responsive to questions, but keep heavy discussions to once a week, max
- Understand you are not a product to be marketed
- Move quickly past disappointments, like rejection from a certain college, but rather look forward
- Celebrate all successes, big or little
You can help your parents by:
- Helping them to “let go” so that they can deal with “empty nest syndrome” when you go off to college.
- Sharing information with your parents, and getting their opinions as you travel the college search road.
- Having them develop a list of questions they would like answered by the various colleges.
- Showing them the admitted profiles of last year’s class so they understand the competition.
- Inviting them to accompany you to college fairs and on college visits.
- Making sure that you are aware of the financial assistance they can provide so that you can make educated decisions about options.
Your friends should:
- Be there for you. You will sometimes need emotional support.
- Celebrate successes, and not dwell on disappointments.
- Remember that the college admissions process is not a contest.
Your high school counselors should:
- Build your self-esteem and self-confidence by helping you understand the differences between high school and college.
- Identify and develop your college expectations and help you explore college majors and career interests.
- Assist in your college search and help you complete your applications.
- Assist in your college funding and help you apply for scholarships.
- Monitor your four year academic plan and help you access information that is essential to the college search and financial aid process.
- Serve as an advocate for you in the college admissions process.
- Write recommendations.
Your college admissions officers should:
- Recruit students to the college.
- Respond to inquiry emails sent to the college.
- Know all there is to know about their colleges and be honest about this information.
- Read applications and be involved in making college admission decisions.
- Meet with students and their families on campus, at college fairs, high school programs and college receptions.
- Look for reasons to admit not reject.