Why Parents Must Be Their Children’s Guidance Counselor
If you’re a parent and you’re relying on your child’s high school guidance counselor to help your son or daughter navigate the college admissions process, your kid is in big trouble. It’s estimated that the average high school college guidance counselor spends less than 38 minutes with each student. That’s barely enough time to research one or two schools, let alone figure out how to get into them. If you want your child to get into a great college or university, you’re going to have to take matters into your own hands.
Here are a few steps to help you guide your child right into their dream school!
First, set the path by making sure your child is taking the most challenging course load possible. College admissions officers want to see that your child is progressively taking on more and more academic responsibility. During your child’s freshman and sophomore years, the standard curriculum is fine, but by their junior and senior year, admissions officers like to see that he or she is enrolled in AP and Honors classes. Most college admissions officers care more about these classes than a student’s GPA. If your child isn’t enrolled in any of these classes, call the school and find out how to get them in. Different schools have different procedures for moving students around, but most will try to accommodate a child committed to getting into college. It’s definitely worth the call.
Second, stay on top of deadlines. Most high school juniors and seniors have packed schedules and are being pulled in a hundred different directions. This makes important deadlines easy to miss. To keep from overlooking important steps, create a college calendar. Add important SAT and ACT registration dates, college fairs and tours and application deadlines. Parent 2 Parent College Network has published a copy of our College-Bound Junior and College-Bound Senior Checklists. These lists help students and parents stay on track by giving important SAT and ACT test dates, college application deadlines and a host of other important milestones for college-bound juniors and seniors.
Last but not least, help them choose the right school for them. There are thousands of colleges and universities across the country and picking the one that fits your student the best is the key to a happy and productive college career. Since you know your child better than they probably know themselves, don’t be afraid to add your two cents. Well, your two cents plus the thousands of dollars you’re going to be paying in tuition.
Oh, and remember, the best way for you to help your student is to stay positive – push without being pushy and help them to help themselves.