The Role Parents Play
As soon as a student enters high school, it feels like all people want to do is talk about the college admissions process. It is hard not to get caught up in conversations about testing, recruiting, college visits, early admissions, hot (or not so hot) colleges and on and on. The information overload can be oppressive. Parents often ask us how can they help? What can they do to support their child as they navigate the sea of information and responsibilities? At Dunbar, we recognize that parents do, indeed, play an important role, but this role requires thought and often restraint.
We believe that students benefit when their parents:
• Provide unconditional love and support. This means, that as parents, your message to your child is that they will be successful wherever they go and that your love and support has no conditions. Celebrate all college acceptances, regardless of the position of the college on your child’s list.
• Provide the organizational support for travel to visit colleges and test preparation and assistance in getting organized while managing the information flow from colleges.
• Provide their child with the confidence to own their college application process. This means stepping back sometimes and refraining from providing your opinions on this or that college.
• Provide a realistic, but positive, vision of their child’s admissions chances.
• Help manage the emotional stress that the college application process may cause your child by conveying trust and confidence in them. Parents need to emphasize that it is what a student does with their college experience that matters more than where they go. Keep lines of communication open as much as possible.
And, don’t forget to believe all the above! Your child knows you well and if you feel stressed and anxious about the process, they will pick up on it and feel the same.