4 Ways Parents Can Support Their Children in the College Application Process

Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer
3 min readMay 23, 2023

The college application process can be daunting for parents and their children. The pressure to find the right school and the stress of completing the application can overwhelm everyone involved. However, as a parent, you can support your child during this process in several ways. Here are four ways parents can support their children in the college application process.

Encourage your child to start early

The college application process can be time-consuming, and it’s crucial to encourage your child to start early. This means researching potential schools, understanding the application requirements, and beginning the application process as soon as possible. As a parent, help your child by setting deadlines and creating a schedule to ensure they stay on track.

Encourage your child to use resources to help them prepare for college. This may include attending college fairs, meeting with representatives, and taking college prep courses. By starting early and taking advantage of these resources, your child will have a better chance of success in the college application process.

Provide emotional support

The college application process can be emotionally challenging for your child. They may feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious about their future. As a parent, provide emotional support and remind your child that you are there to help them every step of the way.

One form of emotional support is encouraging children to express their feelings, acknowledge their concerns, and validate their emotions. Offer encouragement and remind them of their accomplishments. Additionally, help your child find healthy ways to manage stress through exercise, meditation, or spending time with friends and family.

Help your child with the application process

The college application process can be complex and confusing. As a parent, you can offer support by helping your child with the application process. This may include proofreading essays, helping them gather necessary documents, and ensuring all deadlines are met.

Remember that while you can offer support, allowing your child to take ownership of the application process is essential. Encourage them to take the lead in completing the application and to reach out to their school counselor or college advisor if they need additional assistance.

Discuss financial aid options

College can be expensive, and discuss financial aid options with your child. This may include filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), researching scholarships, and exploring student loan options.

As a parent, have an open and honest conversation with your child about the cost of college and the financial resources available. You can also encourage your child to research potential schools and to consider the cost of attendance when making their final decision.

College applications can be stressful for parents and their children. However, by offering support and guidance, parents can help their children navigate this process with confidence and success. By encouraging your child to start early, providing emotional support, helping with the application process, and discussing financial aid options, you can make the college application process less overwhelming and more manageable for your child.

Remember, the most important thing you can do as a parent is to be there for your child every step of the way. Listen to their concerns, offer encouragement, and remind them that you are there to help them achieve their goals. With your support, your child can successfully navigate the college application process and embark on an exciting new chapter in their life.

This article was originally published at marilyngardnermilton.org.