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Applying to colleges

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My ds and I are "butting" heads, so I wanted to get your view. It seems that if I'm not the force pushing the application process moving, it would not move. So:

 

Did your children do the application process on their own?

How early did you/they start the process?

Did anyone review their essays? If so, how often?

Did you set a schedule of due dates to help them stay on course?

 

My son says he wants to go to college, but it almost feels like a bit of a push back because it is so overwhelming. But I try to be on the side of caution and begin early so that you do feel that added stress of having to do things in a short amount of time. I don't think he is fully appreciating how time consuming this process can be and I would like to have him get some things done before fall classes start?

 

How much responsibility did you give your children in this process?

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My DD had full responsibility. She started thinking about her essays over the summer break before senior year and made her list of schools that summer. She began the Common App on August 1, the day it came out (big mistake, because that was the glitchy new version).

 

We got to read some of the essays, once, or an important one maybe twice. Others (each school wanted their own essays in addition to the Common App one, so there were lots of essays!) she did not share with us.

 

We did not make a schedule with due dates, she did.

 

This said: college applications are very stressful and overwhelming. Leading up to it, we also had a phase where DD had a hard time getting started on the list of schools, because it was such a daunting task. Once she had it narrowed down to which schools to apply, it was much easier to do the required steps, just tedious, and by the end we were all sick of it. It is normal to be reluctant, because it is such a huge task, and also because of all the emotional issues getting ready for leaving home entails - I do not think one should underestimate this aspect.

Fall of senior year was rough. Good luck to your son.

 

ETA: How much he can accomplish now depends on whether the schools' applications are available yet. Common App does not open until August 1.

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No, my son did not do the application process on his own. I required that he "own" the process in a fundamental way, but it was a bit of a team effort. At that point, he was extremely busy (dual enrolled plus a couple of high school courses and self-studying for two CLEPs, volunteering at the local science museum and spending 20-ish hours a week at his dance studio and counting down to a significant dance competition), and he had never applied for college before. So, I provided a fair amount of support.

 

He decided more or less on the spur of the moment to apply for college a year earlier than we had planned, meaning the whole process went very quickly. He decided in October and submitted his first applications at the beginning of December.

 

I did review/proofread his essays when he requested it. I work part-time as an English tutor and, during certain times of the year, a lot of my students seek out help with college application essays, everything from brainstorming to final proofreading. We decided it was silly for me not to provide the same level of assistance to my son, since I was available to him as a free resource. As I recall, he wrote a draft, which I reviewed. He made changes based on some (not all) of my comments. He then asked for a final proofreading.

 

We worked together to put a master calendar on the wall of our schoolroom showing all of the relevant dates for applications, scholarships, visits and auditions. A few times, he got overwhelmed and asked me to help him make a checklist with important dates and tasks. He would then make himself a calendar and assign specific times to complete each task.

 

His process was complicated by the fact that he was applying to performing arts programs, many of which required auditions. He was not entirely sure yet whether he wanted to focus on dance or theatre and, consequently, needed to schedule and prepare for everything  -- choosing and learning multiple songs, monologues and dance routines. I assisted by helping to brainstorm and locate selections for him to review. He chose the pieces he wanted to use and worked them up on his own. 

 

He did all of the communication with colleges, but I handled making travel arrangements for visits and auditions. 

 

I made it clear from the beginning that, as far as I was concerned, the local community college was a perfectly acceptable back-up plan if he dropped the ball on the applications or scholarship deadlines and didn't end up with any other viable options. I viewed myself purely as support staff and refused to drive the process for him. I was happy to help when he asked, but it was his responsibility to keep moving things forward.

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My dream was always to get the essays done during the summer, but despite having four kids and four opportunities to do so, we never did. Every kid procrastinated until much closer to the due dates before finally moving on those darn essays!

 

I posted deadlines and did a bit of nagging, but ultimately the kids were the ones who moved forward on the process. (I did some serious nagging about recommendations just because it's not fair to expect recommenders to cough up a rec on only a week's notice, and that was the time frame some of my kids were operating on!)

 

I nagged the most with #1. After that, the younger kids seemed to get the message that applying early for merit aid was part of the college application process.

 

Best wishes -- it's a horrible process and I still wake up at night thankful that I don't have a senior this year!

 

A wise friend told me that the college process was specifically designed to strain the parent-child relationship in order to make the transition to child-free living easier! :tongue_smilie:

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Our DS did almost everything himself.

 

He decided on what schools he wanted to go visit.  We started visiting schools in the summer before his sophomore year of high school.

 

He kept up with interview requirements and application deadlines and all of that.  He asked for my input on some of his essays but not all.

 

DH handled some of the submitting of standardized test scores, I think. 

 

I suspect youngest DS will need a bit more oversight (mainly due to some diagnosed anxiety issues), but as Jenny said we'll still fully expect him to "own" the process.  But I also suspect he'll be the type of kid to apply to just one or two schools instead of wanting to cast a wide net.

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My guys handled their applications/essays alone, though their essays were read/checked by English teachers/profs in their life as English is not my forte.

 

I helped them find appropriate schools (based upon what they wanted) by doing the bulk of the grunt work slogging through info on different schools.  I set up our schedule to visit the schools making the cut.  I e-mailed admissions (as their guidance counselor) to see what they wanted from homeschoolers and if what we had was enough.  I set up standardized testing dates (they filled out the online part of this).  I encouraged my guys to keep plugging through with the apps and essays. 

 

They decided where they wanted to go based upon acceptances and affordability.  They've picked (and changed) their majors.

 

For all three it was a joint effort and I've no regrets.  It's a big job.

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I'd say we're in the middle -- I'm not pushing as much as OP nor is DD totally independent.

She's mostly made her own list. While there are a couple of schools where I think her chances for either admission or for aid are a bit "iffy", and one school in particular where I'm not sure I'd send her even if she were admitted on full ride, it's overall a pretty good list. She understands that she must complete her applications to the state schools (where we can afford without financial aid) before she can apply to the private schools on her list. But, state school apps open in September, so she has August to get started on Common App essays.

 

I am going to have her read Lee Binz's little coffee break book on essays with me -- I really like the way she describes doing the essays with her son. The parents help at the beginning, making sure to discuss ways prompts can be interpreted, brainstorm the full range of high school experiences that might be essay material, and think about where prompts overlap and/or stories can be re-used. Then, butt out for the middle of the process while kid does drafts and finds their own voice. Then check them over at the end. I have another book, The Art of the College Essay, by Gabrielle Glancy that which I will give her and hope she reads. I read a bunch of resources and picked out this one as the one that I thought was most "my kid." I think it will really appeal to her creative writer side and the examples are good.

 

I check in with her every couple of weeks -- right now we're trying to schedule a visit trip and need to book some plane tickets so I want her contacting all the places we want to see and make arrangements as needed.

 

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My ds and I are "butting" heads, so I wanted to get your view. It seems that if I'm not the force pushing the application process moving, it would not move. So:

 

Did your children do the application process on their own?

How early did you/they start the process?

Did anyone review their essays? If so, how often?

Did you set a schedule of due dates to help them stay on course?

 

My son says he wants to go to college, but it almost feels like a bit of a push back because it is so overwhelming. But I try to be on the side of caution and begin early so that you do feel that added stress of having to do things in a short amount of time. I don't think he is fully appreciating how time consuming this process can be and I would like to have him get some things done before fall classes start?

 

How much responsibility did you give your children in this process?

Yes, my kid did it totally alone.  I didn't even know until after the fact.    I would have preferred to read the essays because I am a good editor but it was not necessary. 

 

I think it needs to be that way.  Maybe he just isn't ready to go.    If you do have a schedule of due dates, it needs to be a suggestion only. 

ETA:  They are frugal, not unrealistic kids, so the choices were not an issue. 

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My ds definitely didn't handle the process on his own.

 

It looked more like:

I showed him the essays and he worked on those, I reviewed, he revised. They were done about 2 weeks later than I hoped, but it was in September. He was applying to a school with rolling admissions. When the essays were ready, he sat beside me on the couch and pulled up the ap and filled it out with me providing any information he needed. Then I sent in the transcripts and course descriptions. It really wasn't that big of a deal

 

I expect dd and I will do something similar. I mentioned the essays last night and she asked if I thought a paper she recently wrote in college comp would work for one. I told her the style changes she would need to do. When her essays are ready, I'll do an edit pass for her and then we'll fill out the ap together. She will be waiting for September ACT scores before turning in her ap, but like ds, she is applying to a school with rolling admissions and we'll get it in ASAP.

 

If my oldest had been left to do college aps on his own he wouldn't have gone. Does that mean he isn't ready? Maybe. He has multiple disabilities though and executive function issues would probably keep him from ever being ready by that definition. Could dd do it on her own? Yes, but there is no reason not to edit for her or provide her with the information she doesn't know off hand on the application. I didn't and won't push. I do let them know what they need to do and help as needed.

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My ds definitely didn't handle the process on his own.

 

 

 

 

Mine didn't either. Part of it was after checking his coursework, we decided to graduate him a year early. It made sense for our circumstances, and the decision was made over a period of a few weeks last fall. So there was a bit of a time crunch,  we talked about where to apply, he chose and did the application. 

 

He's the type of person that needs to be walked through things when they are unfamiliar, then he can handle it on his own as the process unfolds. I am very much like him in that regard. There are so many things in life I never tried because I wasn't sure how to start. 

 

He's starting local for many reasons. Part of me is glad because I know his "launch into life" will be best done in stages. 

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My son is ready to go to college, but it's still overwhelming to him. I'm probably going to continue to help, but I'll also back up a bit. He did make his final college list, but I was the one who talked to him about his interest and made the original list from which we made the tours. But he made the "yay" or "nay" decision.

 

I don't want our relationship to take too much of a hit, and that's why I need to back up, because that's what I saw happening. I want this experience/journey to be exciting and fun.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

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All three needed nagging to some extent - some more than others.  Fortunately, they all applied to the Summer Seminar at an academy, which jump started the process in December of JUNIOR year and only the last one had to deal with/wait for the Common App.  They also only applied to 2-3 colleges each.

 

The local school actually has an English course (yes, a semester-long course for credit) on writing the application essays, so dc saw all their friends getting "editting" and were happy enough to share their essays with us.

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I helped my daughter in a variety of ways.  I helped her develop a list of colleges with strong Latin/Classics departments.  I also found a list of colleges that were likely to give good financial aid.  The overlap of these two lists generated a list of about thirty colleges that she looked at more closely.  This led her to place some seven colleges on her list.

 

I asked (demanded?!) that she apply to our local state university and to another instate university as safeties.  She also added another college at which she had attended a conference.  (And that college ultimately gave her by far the worst financial aid offer.)  Ultimately, she applied to ten colleges in all.

 

I also created spread sheets with application, scholarship, and financial aid deadlines.

 

I encouraged (nagged!) as deadlines approached.  I was also available to proofread essays and answer questions that occurred as she filled out applications.

 

Throughout her high school years, I also kept track of classes and tests (PSAT, SAT, SAT subject tests, AP tests) that I thought she should take in order to be a strong candidate come college application time.

 

When decision making time came (eight acceptances and one wait list), my husband and I discussed the pros and cons of the various colleges in light of their financial aid offers and her future debt.  She ultimately chose which college to attend.

 

Regards,

Kareni 

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My first dd did it all on her own.  She only called on me when she really didn't know something.  Common App stuff was the big thing.  She did all her own essays, I never saw them.  But she's a better writer than I am and is better at grammar too.  She owned it and did it all.  I may have reminded her about deadlines and such, but not much.  She finished all her applications by mid-October.

 

My second dd was a whole different ball game.  Her I had to push and remind and push some more.  And she only applied to one school.  Rolling admission, she found out that she got in after 2 days!  It was her first choice so why keep trying?

 

 

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I had to be a significant partner in my ds's application process. He has Aspergers, which shouldn't be an excuse but it affects how he views things. He has no interest in college but understands he has a bleak outlook without it. So I sat with him and filled out the application. He only applied to one college and it didn't require an essay so it was easy peasy to apply and be accepted.

 

My dd17 is driving me batty. She's starting her senior year in a couple of weeks at a public high school. She's only visited 2 colleges and I arranged both of those and my DH took her. She wants to go to a top level school but she's so overwhelmed that she does nothing to move along the process. I can't decide if I should just leave her alone and let her apply to the 2 colleges she's visited. One is a good school but I have serious doubts about her getting in. The competition is fierce and she just doesn't have many AP classes and nothing extra-curricular at all. She'll have no problem getting into the other school but I don't think she wants to go there. I do ask her about her thoughts every few days but she never has an answer. I told her I'd sit with her and go through college websites but she doesn't want to do that. So no, I have no idea what to do with her. I'm scared to leave her alone. I wanted her to apply to several colleges so she'd hopefully have several acceptances to choose from. At this point she may be applying to schools she hasn't even visited. Otherwise, she's severely limited herself.

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At this point she may be applying to schools she hasn't even visited. Otherwise, she's severely limited herself.

 

FWIW, many students do this - then visit when/if they get accepted and consider the schools legitimate contenders.

 

Middle school is attending a school we only visited after his acceptance came in.  We did a second visit when we found out they were quite affordable.

 

It's not unusual nor bad.  It can be helpful with time and finances.

 

Visiting schools FIRST is ideal, but not always practical.

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I had to be a significant partner in my ds's application process. He has Aspergers, which shouldn't be an excuse but it affects how he views things. He has no interest in college but understands he has a bleak outlook without it. So I sat with him and filled out the application. He only applied to one college and it didn't require an essay so it was easy peasy to apply and be accepted.

 

My dd17 is driving me batty. She's starting her senior year in a couple of weeks at a public high school. She's only visited 2 colleges and I arranged both of those and my DH took her. She wants to go to a top level school but she's so overwhelmed that she does nothing to move along the process. I can't decide if I should just leave her alone and let her apply to the 2 colleges she's visited. One is a good school but I have serious doubts about her getting in. The competition is fierce and she just doesn't have many AP classes and nothing extra-curricular at all. She'll have no problem getting into the other school but I don't think she wants to go there. I do ask her about her thoughts every few days but she never has an answer. I told her I'd sit with her and go through college websites but she doesn't want to do that. So no, I have no idea what to do with her. I'm scared to leave her alone. I wanted her to apply to several colleges so she'd hopefully have several acceptances to choose from. At this point she may be applying to schools she hasn't even visited. Otherwise, she's severely limited herself.

 

Does she work? You said she doesn't have any ECs. If she doesn't work or works limited hours I'd consider doing a couple mother-daughter road trips. Find a few schools that clustered one direction off the highway and do a two night trip to see them. During one of our college search trips dd and I saw three schools in 2 days. 2 schools were about 40 minutes apart--we saw them the first day, scheduling the school that I thought was least likely to be a fit the least amount of time. Then we saw the third school 3 hours up the road closer to home the next day. Not ideal. But it's a start. A couple trips like that might broaden her thought process. I also made our trips fun, looking up things to see and eat on Yelp before we went.

 

Is not knowing what she wants to do with herself and therefore not knowing what she should consider as a major part of the problem? My dd participated in personality testing as part of a school thing. It gave her a jumping off point to think about careers. It's helped to see that some of the things she's thought about are a could be a good match.

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Does she work? You said she doesn't have any ECs. If she doesn't work or works limited hours I'd consider doing a couple mother-daughter road trips. Find a few schools that clustered one direction off the highway and do a two night trip to see them. During one of our college search trips dd and I saw three schools in 2 days. 2 schools were about 40 minutes apart--we saw them the first day, scheduling the school that I thought was least likely to be a fit the least amount of time. Then we saw the third school 3 hours up the road closer to home the next day. Not ideal. But it's a start. A couple trips like that might broaden her thought process. I also made our trips fun, looking up things to see and eat on Yelp before we went.

 

Is not knowing what she wants to do with herself and therefore not knowing what she should consider as a major part of the problem? My dd participated in personality testing as part of a school thing. It gave her a jumping off point to think about careers. It's helped to see that some of the things she's thought about are a could be a good match.

 

She just quit her job because she doesn't know how demanding school will be. She only had one AP class last year and Aced it. This year she is taking 3 and she's worried it's going to overwhelm her.

 

She doesn't know what major she will choose. Last year's AP class was Psychology and she loved it, but she doesn't know if that is reason enough to list it as a major.

 

DH is actually the one taking her on college visits. I don't mind because she doesn't really spend a lot of time with him. I've suggested a couple of schools but she doesn't seem to be enthusiastic about anything.

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I think everyone's experiences will vary greatly.  If your student is not used to doing everything independently, the college application process is not the place to have them begin.


 

I wouldn't expect my kid to fully appreciate how time consuming the process is, because they haven't worked through it. It is reasonable for you to ask for certain things to be completed before the end of summer.

 

At my house, my oldest and I both played a part in the process, but we worked mostly separately.  I completed all transcript, course description, counselor information, and any other administrative forms.  She completed the applications entirely on her own (perhaps asking questions). She wrote her essays, asked me to review, and she completed the revisions.  I kept track of all deadlines.  She already had experience in time management, so she began working ahead of time so she wouldn't feel her own pressure.

 

Senior year can be overwhelming, scary for some.  Nudging and encouragement can be expected.  But for those kids who aren't self-motivated and comfortable planning the college app process out early, now is not the time to decide to give them that responsibility.

 

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With us, it was a mix.  For my son, he did it completely on his own.  I don't think he ever asked me a single question.  In fact, it didn't even occur to me that he should start applying, but he had already begun.  (It was all just as new to me as him!)

 

For child #2, it was a joint effort.  I really pushed the first time, laying out everything she had to do and when;  she was accepted, and then in the end didn't go.  She took a year off and worked, and then we tried again.  This time she took more initiative, but still really appreciated that it was kind of a team effort.  She picked only one school (it was in another country), was accepted, and I helped her with the mountains of paperwork, visa requirements, etc., required to study at an international school.  Since then, she has never needed my help with anything school-related.  She took complete responsibility after that.

 

Child #3 did it herself, but she dragged her feet throughout the process!  It was during a time of great family upheaval though, so she knew she had to do it all herself.  By the skin of her teeth she got it done in time (just one school)!

 

Child #4 is going the non-school route.

 

Child #5 has needed my pushing and assistance every step of the way.  But if I didn't push and really lay it out for her step by step, it wouldn't get done, and she'd really be left floundering  -- to her detriment.  I do see her maturing and taking responsibility, so that's a good thing!

 

 

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My DS enjoyed the visits(state schools-4 hours or less),but I set the visits up after we discussed colleges . Although he did very well his first year in one of flagship schools,, we pushed and scheduled to get him there. He sort of just shut down senior year. It was like he experienced homesickness before he left. On the bright side, he spent a great deal of time making sure his relationships with younger siblings was firmly established.

 

We knew the date that the applications opened here, and assigned his essays and revisions, in small chunks over the summer with his other work. We didn't do a lot to the essays, but would question if something was unclear, they had his voice. He was a bit of a reluctant writer, but more than that , he is reserved and uncomfortable with that personal type of writing. Everthing was ready and applied on the first possible day. A month later he was accepted and had housing set up. I would have preferred that he drive the process, but that is not the way it was here. It still worked out. Many seniors I know are like this, afraid of change.

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I've had to make my kids apply to the first college.  After that, they were more motivated and did most of it on their own.  Getting started was a hurdle they needed help getting over.

 

I read over their essays, but I don't change too much.  They write pretty well, though.  They've wanted the feedback.  If they didn't, I wouldn't read the essays.

 

I know kids also put them up online in various places to have their friends (and perfect strangers) give feedback.  I'm not sure if that's at all useful.  The friends are going to be universally supportive and the perfect strangers may do the internet comment thing.

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My ds did it on his own.  Never saw his essays, but.. He did it all at the last minute, missed out on opportunities because of it, my blood pressure went through the roof because he missed some deadlines, needed constant pushing, and reminding. Constant.   Drove. me. insane!   The only thing he needed my help w/ was the fafsa.  

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I do it for them. It's not my goal to have them do it on their own, so it works out well for us.

 

I don't think it has to do with how independent a student is in general. My dd started and ran robotics programs, traveled, worked as a research intern at a university, she was certainly independent... but we prioritized other things over her filling in application forms. Other than what she had to do - write essays, correspond with schools, etc. - I did the rest. I gave her the application essay topics and questions and told her when they needed to be submitted. I proofread them for errors, but didn't revise them, so I didn't need them much ahead of time.

 

We started when school started her senior year. It was too late to start, imho. She chose which colleges to apply to over Thanksgiving weekend. With my second dd, now starting her senior year, we started a few months ago. She is already narrowing her choices, and we have already made contact and started the process with several schools. I am seeing the benefit, as she is getting invited to events older probably missed because she started later.

 

Older dd applied to several schools she didn't visit, including the one she attends now. She visited twice after she was accepted, once at our expense and once at theirs, so she knew it was a great fit.  She had visited three or four schools total before she began the application process, all as part of other programs though, not as "college visits."  She wasn't overly concerned about the campus, more about the program itself, so visits weren't as important to her.

 

Anyway, all this just to say that it can be different for different families.

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Dc#1 and I did it together, but I drove the process.  Dc #2 will likely do it without my help the day the new applications become available online.  Different dc with different personalities, gifts, and preferences even apply for college differently.  It's okay.  I don't mind. 

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DD was  a very take charge personality. Still, being homeschooled, there were times that specific questions were handle by me and not by her. She was careful about deadlines and kept up with correspondence quite well, but wanted us to read her essays and make suggestions. She was very nervous about that. Not surprising really since she had heavily specialized in science and was not a natural born writer. It turned out just fine, and she didn't miss a single deadline nor even came close. She really had her ducks in a row. We scheduled the visits though since with car sharing, distances, hotels that couldn't be booked by a minor, etc. we still needed to head that up for her.

 

Last year, C, was still in a wheelchair and on heavy meds. It was a tough, tough senior year for him. He tried so hard to stay on top of things, but sleepless nights, prescription pain killers, and muscle relaxants made it very hard for him to keep up with everything on top of multiple physical therapy appointments each week. I was VERY involved in the process though I can honestly say, he still took ownership of it, and came to his own conclusions. Thankfully, he is quite the natural writer - he's majoring in journalism so no surprise there - and could churn out a great essay with one eye closed and his brain half asleep, LOL. His essays really were amazing, and due to his nervousness over his physical condition he asked us to look them over which ended with us making rarely any suggestions at all. Whew! It was much harder to do college visits with his condition still so fragile, and two of the five were weeded out over physical issues. His decision not ours, but to be honest, we were relieved when he came to those conclusions on his own because we might have otherwise needed to have an "older/wiser" say in it.

 

This year ds is very excited, and very involved. He is however earning money farm sitting, volunteering with the DNR, volunteering with 4-H, mentoring some young rocketeers, and managing DE calculus on top of a huge senior ecology project. I think he has enough on his plate that we would be advised to assist here and there. He will also need more than one re-write on his essays because this kid can write a scientific paper at the drop of hat, but can't come up with "what do you think about a or b" when it's not scientific without some coaxing. I suspect that for English classes, he'll be hanging out at the writing center of whatever college he attends since it's a writing block he's never quite gotten over despite wrecking our brains trying to help him.

 

 

 

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We got ds1 started. Actually, I dragged him through the first applications and nagged for the essay. A couple of things turned the attitude around. First, the first acceptance. That got him started thinking about the reality of going somewhere. He did a lot in his own after that. Also, starting planning for a solo Europe trip in the spring, made senior year short.

 

Dd1 had to be encouraged to start emailing coaches and filling out questionnaires in the fall of her junior year. A couple of enthusiastic coach responses was all it took. She is handling everything on her own right now. I am doing the counselor things.

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I had to manage a lot of the process in order to make sure it got done.  My kids were like ostriches - head in the sand when things were scary. 

 

With my oldest, if I hadn't taken the bull by the horns, I would have a genius going to community college and hiding in his room when he wasn't in class.  He needed to be shown the possibilities and have things laid out for him.  He was my Peter Pan kid.  Didn't want to grow up because he was afraid.  Also, he was pretty busy with school and felt a bit overwhelmed.  The winter of his junior year, I made a list of schools I thought would be a good fit.  I went over it with him and asked him if he had any he knew he didn't want and any he wanted to add.  I made the appointments for him because I knew he needed to see a college campus and see himself there (and also because it was difficult enough trying to mesh ds's schedule with mine.)  Before each visit, I had him go over the college website, paying close attention to the department he was interested in. After the third visit, he started asking more of the questions himself and was much more positive about the process.  The only way college was going to be affordable was if he got top merit $$, so I felt I really needed to keep on him to make sure he made the Early Action deadlines.

 

When it came to applying, I had him create a spreadsheet of the application requirements/deadlines for each school that was still on his list.     I prodded and nagged when it came to writing his essay.  He just couldn't write about himself.  Very much a STEM kid and only wrote when he had to.  So, I had to sit and ask him lots of questions and made him write down the answers to those questions.  Then be began to see a possible essay.  I still had to nag about the essay.  After he had a draft, I encouraged him to have someone look it over.  He felt it was too personal to have me read it until it was a more complete draft.  So, he asked a homeschool mom that he knew well to look it over and she gave some great suggestions (fairly minor, but helped it have a stronger voice.)  I had to discuss with him and nag about getting his letters of recommendation (including coaching him on tracking down a professor who had left the area) and help him problem solve the gazillion glitches in the Common App.   

 

With my second, I still had to give a lot of support and coaching, but K wasn't nearly as terrified of the process.  K was chomping at the bit to get out of here.  But, he was overwhelmed by all that had to be done on top of the already heavy academic load (lots of dual-enrolled classes and AP.)  I still scheduled a bunch of the initial college visits (again due to me having all the scheduling info,) but K was more engaged from the get-go.

 

Since my 3rd has seen her older siblings go through the process, it isn't nearly as scary for her.  Plus, she is much more fearless about life than her siblings.  My older two were much more like me.  I applied to one school (state flagship) and got in.  It didn't even occur to me to apply anywhere else because I didn't know what was out there.

 

My kids experienced much growth during the process. I had to remember that they weren't done yet.  My oldest when from being terrified of college to being ready when I dropped him off.  It was scary - I had to have a lot of faith that the development was going to happen.  I just had to keep putting stuff out there and scaffold where needed. 

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In my family, getting through the application process alone has nothing to do with adulthood. I have now helped several 20-somethings who were working adult, fulltime jobs through the process (as well as some 19yo,s). It is a time of very mixed emotions, for my family, which makes the whole process harder. I sat with them while they filled out the application. There are a number of things that they need help with, even in a fairly short application. For example, they are fuzzy on how to spell my maiden name and whether they need a td booster. I waded through the college sites and made a to-do list specifically for them, with deadlines. I have STEM students, so they only had one essay, but that didn,t exactly make that essay easy to write. I pushed them to start thinking about it early and proofread it. They needed tons of help applying for financial aid. They didn,t know how long the wait time for each item was. They didn,t know that you can have a vaccination record sent to a school by phoning, but SAT scores need to be ordered online and CC transcripts have to be ordered in writing. I helped find safety schools. After they were accepted, i had to continue to help as they waded through more forms for housing and other things. Each year, I stand by while they pack. As they grow more experienced, I turn into someone who just is there for company and to fetch and carry for them and fold things. My husband and I didn,t get ourselves into and off to college, so we expected to help our children. Maybe this is a matter of family culture? I think it is fine to push even a very reluctant student through the application process. They grow and change fast at that age. This is part of why I am not happy about the application process moving earlier and earlier. I do, however, think you have to listen very carefully to your child when it comes time to make final choices. It is hard for some children, even adult children, to say what they really want, especially if they know it will be a disappointment to their parents. I think many students aren,t ready to go to college at the beginning of senior year, which makes applying hard. At the end of senior year, many of those students will have grown up enough to be ready, but some, deferring and taking a gap year would be wise. It can be hard to hear what your children are not saying.

 

Nan

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