College applications made easier…

I was prepping to write this to my high school seniors, but let’s get real: if you are a senior sorting out how to apply to college, you are organized enough that you probably don’t need my help.  This post will probably be read by parents, looking for ways to get their high school senior to do the college applications with a minimum of prompting and stress.  I’ll just write to my actual audience: parents.

Hi, parents! You are in good company!  I’ve heard from numerous parents over the years that parenting is hard, and that parenting a future adult is even trickier as you attempt to balance support/nagging for your child/young adult.

Parents have suggested several strategies over the years, including:

  • Establish a google/shared spreadsheet for tracking data, and then check in with your student. You and your child can establish deadlines by which they need to achieve tasks, and if they lag behind, you get to nag. Write your agreed upon deadlines into the spreadsheet.  (This approach works for homework, chores, and major projects such as college applications.)
  • Treat procrastination as a hint of a different problem, not a laziness problem. You probably are not raising a lazy child. They are your child, after all, so lazy is not in the genetic cards!  Sort out the sources of anxiety that might lend themselves to what looks like procrastination.  Often times, students don’t know where to start an essay, or can’t identify the actual schools to which they wish to apply.  Ask lots of questions.
  • Pair any evidence of application progress with a reward.
  • If you have to actually do the application, your child is not college ready. That said…
  • Apply now, defer later.
  • Choose colleges near and far. Apply to large and small colleges.  Think broadly. Decide later.
  • Check out this blog: https://www.differentbrains.org/embracing-autism-in-college/
    • follow the embedded link to find colleges that support students with ASD

Your end goal is to raise a child who can head off to college, find success, and roll into adulthood. If you find that you need to over-perform as a parent, your child might not be ready for college this year.  You can build skills this year, but only if you can recognize when you are over-parenting and allow yourself to step back. Check in with other parents regarding how much “help” is appropriate to offer.  You can do this!  And come see this spreadsheet!

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