Amy Haskell, M.A., M.Ed., Founder, Total Writing Enrichment Services
What if your son or daughter sailed through the college application process without tears, stress, or frustration? What if you could help ensure the best possible way to submit an amazing college application? Before you start demanding that your teen “just write something!” please skim through these tried and true methods we’ve created so that your teen can begin and end this daunting process college application process in the most effective and positive way possible.
Tip #1: Take Inventory of Your Teen’s Actual Needs for the College Applications
One of the most effective steps your teen can take is to identify his/her actual application needs so that you can quickly get answers to questions and your teen can move forward.
Then, create a plan and execute on your action items in order to save time, maximize the efficiency of the college application process, and produce the most outstanding college applications.
For example, is your teen quite smart and motivated but needs help with organizing time tables to confirm letters of recommendation, complete the essays, and adhere to application due dates? If so, then help him/her recognize these needs and accept the effort needed to overcome and stay on top of these specific college application steps.
Tip #2: Do a “total thought brainstorm” on any and every item on your teen’s college application to-do list.
Encourage your teen to take the time to write out any and everything he/she has to complete in order to happily submit the college applications on time.
Then, continue on with having your teen identify possible obstacles that might block him/her from moving forward (does he/she feel uncomfortable with asking for a letter of recommendation, or insecure about writing the essays for the college applications?).
The point is to transfer all concrete, logical to-do items as well as emotional concerns from his/her brain to paper. Watch the transformation from worry and hesitation to control and motivation begin.
Tip #3 – Commit to consistency.
As many of us know who have coached hundreds of seniors through the college application season, the rigor of maintaining good study skills, a healthy fitness routine, as well as quality family time becomes taxing on all family members once college applications are added to the schedule.
You’ve come this far in helping your teen and one of the best strategies you can at least be aware of is to provide support towards keeping up with positive, healthy activities your teen enjoys. For example, does your family attend church every weekend or go out to lunch or dinner once a week but you feel your senior’s schedule is too crammed to make that happen? Try it anyway. The quality time (even if short!) goes a long way towards helping your teen maintain a sense of security grounded in those consistent activities.
Of course, if there is one smart thought to follow, we know the power of change and flexibility too. Choosing to be flexible results in happiness for your senior as well as the rest of the family. The additional time and commitment required to complete college applications on time does and will require every member of the family to bend in order to offer the most supportive environment and we must remind ourselves, as we all know “This too will pass.”
As the inscription at Williams College tells us: “Climb high; Climb far. Your goal the sky; Your aim the star.”
We want your senior to follow his/her dreams and by taking stock of the actual needs of steps to conquer for college applications, acknowledging thoughts and emotions, as well as remaining aware of the power of consistent family activities coupled with the willingness to be flexible help make your teen’s dream a reality and sail as smoothly as possible through the winds and waters of the college application process.