12. FORGET EVERYTHING YOU LEARNED WHEN YOU APPLIED TO COLLEGE

Don’t wax on about how much easier it was to apply to college in the 80s or 90s. Your kid can’t time travel and this just increases their stress. All parent do this. Don’t.  

13. DON’T START LOOKING AT COLLEGE TOO EARLY.

Kids need good grades, scores and activities they love.  By starting college tours as early as 9th grade the subject of college hangs over their heads when it doesn’t need to be. The reality is that what they want and where they will apply changes so much that starting too early can waste time and increase stress. Parents should start looking and finances, scholarships, savings, costs early, but this does not need to involve the teen until 11th grade.

14. BE PATIENT

Kids change their minds and know that nothing is cast in stone until they confirm a school. Until they have accepted an offer of admittance, keep the conversation going and listen to what they are saying. This is a period of huge growth for many kids and the schools they were sure they loved early in the process may fade by the end.

15. BEWARE BAD COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ADVICE

There is real expert information on college admission to be found online and there is dangerous hype from parents who know no more than you do. Be very careful to distinguish between the two. We love to direct parents to some of the best blogs by college admissions officers, the people who actually admit students. They make for interesting and truly informative reading. Here is are a few college admissions blogs we love.

16. REMEMBER YOUR TOP PRIORITY

And what is your top priority? To empower and support your student through the process and remind them that you will love them no matter what. Ask yourself: does my child know my love is unconditional? Maybe. But throughout this process it helps to give lots of reminders. And hugs.

17. SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

Remember that the process of applying to college is now much more competitive than when you applied. So cut your child some slack if they don’t get in to where they (or you) had hoped. One of the best ways to avoid disappointment is to work together to develop a balanced college list that includes three reach schools (1-24% chance), three maybe schools (25-75% chance), and three match schools (76% chance or better).

Here’s a tip: fall in love with all nine schools on the list, not just one or two at the top.