Parenting Wisdom: 12 Tips for Supporting Your Teen Through College Admissions

Photo illustrating International College Counselors offers 12 tips for parents on how to support your teen with college admissions.

As we wind down the college admissions cycle for the Class of 2024, we know parents with younger students might be anxious about what’s to come. Parents, this week is about you and how to support your teen. We’re hosting a webinar this Thursday on the Parent’s Role in the College Admissions Process, offering advice that will empower you to help your child through the college admissions process. There will be time for Q&A after the presentation.

While the webinar will go into depth about how parents can best guide their student, here we will be sharing some relationship-building suggestions to help you make the time you have with your high schooler a bit easier.

1. Put the college journey into perspective. College is just one chapter in your student’s life. Plus, while getting in is important, what they make of the experience is even more so. Emphasize that they are in charge of their future–regardless of what college they attend. Help your teenager approach this process with a realistic mindset.

2. Work on your communication. Keep building a healthy relationship with your high school student. Despite the challenges of their teenage years, actively listen to them, validate their feelings, and maintain open communication. Establishing trust and support now will lay the foundation for a strong parent-child relationship during their college years and beyond.

3. Incorporate healthy habits. Your children see you as a role model. Maintain healthy practices as part of your daily routine. Exercise, even in short breaks, can reduce stress and boost mood. Encourage nutritious eating and staying hydrated. These habits can improve focus and well-being, helping your student navigate the demands of high school and college.

4. Alleviate stress. College admissions can induce anxiety in students, as well as their parents. Parents can contribute to a more relaxed atmosphere by staying calm and supportive. A stress-free environment is a game changer for your student’s overall well-being and mindset. We can’t emphasize this enough.

A recent Yahoo! article about the stressful college admissions process highlighted our founder and CEO, Mandee Heller Adler, on this very integral topic. 

5. Set realistic goals. If highly selective colleges seem out of reach based on grades and test scores, reassess your plan. There are hundreds of excellent schools out there. Just because you may not have heard of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t do an excellent job educating its students. For example, take a look at the Colleges That Change Lives consortium. Guidance from the college experts at International College Counselors can help find the best match for your student.

6. Provide support and praise. Acknowledge your child’s achievements and offer assistance with their academic and extracurricular responsibilities. Ensure they meet deadlines for college applications, scholarships, and other commitments.

7. Teach life skills. Prep your student on essential life skills before they leave for college, such as laundry, cooking, budgeting, and managing finances. Students who acquire these skills will experience an easier transition to college life.

8. Encourage exploration. High school is a time for self-discovery. Encourage your student to try new activities, join clubs, take on internships, and explore various interests. This exploration helps them understand their preferences and strengths.

9. Seek help when needed. Identify sources of support (such as study sessions, tutoring, or online resources) for academic challenges, For standardized tests, consider hiring a tutor or exploring online instruction. International College Counselors can guide you to additional resources.

10. Watch for “senioritis.” After college acceptance, celebrate, but be vigilant for senioritis. Encourage your senior to maintain academic diligence, as colleges may withdraw offers based on declining grades or disciplinary issues.

11. Stay excited for your student. Regardless of the college they choose, emphasize the positive aspects of the upcoming experience. Celebrate their independence and the journey they are embarking on.

12. Take care of yourself. The high school and college admissions process can be stressful. Remember, you’re not alone; seek guidance from resources like International College Counselors to navigate this journey more smoothly.

International College Counselors

For help keeping your high school student on track and navigating the college admissions process, contact International College Counselors or call 1-954-414-9986 to discuss how we can support you and your family!