The Do’s and Don’ts of Parental Involvement
As a parent, it’s in our nature to boast about our children’s achievements. Whether we’re celebrating their high honor roll or their Intel Science and Engineering Foundation Award, we can’t help it but brag. We brag or boast because we’re proud of their accomplishments. At the same time, consciously or unconsciously, we’re also patting ourselves on the back for a job well done for raising a highly motivated child and a beautiful human being.
The question to ask ourselves is at what point are we, as parents, overreaching? Are we doing too much for our sons/daughters where it’s no longer of their own volition? Are we enabling them? If so, how will they ever learn?
Since the college application process is an opportunity for the student/candidate to communicate who he/she is and what matters to him/her, it's best that the stories come authentically from the student’s experience and voice. As the saying goes, “colleges and universities are not admitting the parents.” As such, it’s imperative that the student shows initiative and desire for the type of quality education he/she wants.
• Do support them in their quest for higher educational attainment
• Do expose them to resources and opportunities to deepen their learning
• Do encourage them to pursue their educational and career dreams
• Don’t go on a college visit and overwhelm admissions officers with your questions. Allow your children to shine by letting them speak for themselves. It shows initiative.
• Don’t write their college essays for them, as it will be evident that it’s not their voice that comes across to admissions readers, but yours. Invite your son/daughter to engage in a profoundly reflective exercise for a more personalized and captivating storytelling.
• Don’t assume you know it all. Remember your college experience may have been more than 30 years ago. Your information about the admissions process may be outdated and no longer apply. Seek help and guidance from trained professionals—admissions officers, guidance/college counselors and/or educational consultants.
The key word is balance. Seek to strike a balance where you can be helpful and supportive while encouraging your child to take more initiative for their learning and development.