How Much Should You Help Your Child Applying to College?

by Leigh Anderson
Originally Published: 

She knows that some parents will look askance at her offering any help at all: “Some are sure to frown on my efforts. ‘This is your child’s journey, not yours,’ Rosalind Wiseman declared in her 2007 book Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads.” But Hoder is running up against a problem many parents and teens face: There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. And the process of even selecting colleges to apply to is so daunting that the Fiske Guide sat on her son’s table for weeks, untouched.

Hoder does offer a few do’s and don’ts: “Don’t fill out your child’s application. Don’t insist that they consider your alma mater because you loved it there. Don’t push them to apply to a particular school because you think it’s prestigious; where your child lands is not a referendum on your being a good parent. Don’t be the parent who asks all the questions on a school tour. Don’t try to muscle in on your child’s interviews.

“And don’t call a school where your son or daughter was not accepted and demand to know why. Just don’t.”

Fair enough. Anything short of that, though, is fair game.

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