The College Whisperer passes along words of wisdom:

Take heed! Some sound advice (this time, to parents), from a college admission's office, via The Choice, the college blog of The New York Times, offering prudent and practical considerations for those on the college search circuit. Caren Osten Gerszberg, blogger and parent, intersperses her own experiences (and those of her college-bound daughter) with the "Top 10 Things Parents Should Remember About the College Search Process."

A good, fun read, and, truly, some food for thought for every parent about to embark on the great college admission odyssey:

10. Remember that this process is not about you. No matter how similar your children may be to you, they need to make their own decisions and observations.

While my daughter is very much her own person, she is also the one that has begun — in jest — to use the “royal we,” as in: “Where are we applying to college, mom?” I, on the other hand, am the one reminding her that these decisions are hers to make and what she is seeking may be different than what I was looking for when I applied to college.

9. Support and encouragement are more appropriate than pressure and unsolicited advice.

As readers may remember, I try hard to relieve her stress and don’t say much unless asked. Well, most of the time…

8. Do not use the words “we” or “our” when referring to your children’s application process.

You already heard from me on this one. Parents who try to re-live the experience along with their kids lose sight of what’s best for whom.

7. Help them prepare but let them perform.

During our first college visit to Amherst, I was the one who introduced us to the tour guide. But on a recent visit to Northwestern, Nicole confidently approached the admissions desk to check in for the info session, while I waited by the entrance. We’ve come a long way.

6. Encourage your children to make their own college appointments, phone calls and e-mails. When a family arrives at an admissions office, it’s important that the student approach the front desk, not the parents. We notice!

I’ve encouraged Nicole to take charge when it comes to arranging college visits, but it hasn’t always worked. At times, she’s been overwhelmed with schoolwork and it’s me who ends up making the plans. We’re still working on this one.

5. Allow your children to ask the questions.

Although there are times when I’ll ask a question that completely embarrasses my daughter (“What do you do on weekends”? or “Are you involved in religious life on campus?”), it has slowly become her voice asking most of the questions as we tour a campus.

4. Prepare your children for disappointment.

I dread the thought of Nicole’s not getting into her first choice, but I know it’s entirely possible. As an experienced father told me once, kids should start with a school they know they can get in to and would be happy at, and work up from there. Nicole is still trying to figure out which school to start with.

3. Never complete any portion of the college application.

I am always a bit shocked when I hear parents confessing to completing some of the tedious parts of their child’s application. That will not be happening in our house. I already did my applications — with no help — a long time ago.

2. Do not let stereotypes or outdated information steer your children away from schools in which they would otherwise have an interest.

A friend of Nicole’s came home after a visit to Washington University in St. Louis and told her that the school did not appear to be racially diverse — which is an important criterion to her. Nicole was ready to nix the school based on her friend’s observations, though after I urged her to dig a little deeper, she realized it wasn’t true and that the school did appeal to her.

1. Never, ever, during a college visit buy a sweatshirt or T-shirt from the bookstore in your size — it’s a dead giveaway!

We’re off to visit my alma mater soon, and based on this advice and some common sense, that’s the only T-shirt I’ll allow myself to wear.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer.
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