It’s time for high school seniors to start thinking about their college applications. It will soon be time to get organized about visiting campuses, filling out applications, writing college essays, and lots more.
Some students like the challenge of getting all that done. Perhaps they are motivated by the idea of getting away from their high schools, childhood homes . . . and maybe even by the prospect of getting away from you, their parents.
But many students need motivation. When you ask how the applications and essays are going, the only reply you get is, “Okay . . . fine.” The lack of verifiable progress can be frustrating for parents, some of whom seem to be more energized than their children are about applying to college.
How Can You Motivate Students to Get Going?
Here are some strategies that are recommended in a recent post on the CollegeVine Blog:
- Create a college-planning calendar with you kid to track upcoming deadlines, to-dos, and more. As you plan, remember that certain tasks, like writing essays and filling out applications, should not be left until the last minute.
- Have a weekly check-in meeting with your kid. The CollegeVine blogger points out that a weekly check-in discourages parents from asking their kids daily about their application process. That depressurizes the process and lets applicants feel they are more in control of their own work.
- Don’t take responsibility for every detail of the process. As much as you can, keep your kid accountable for getting the job done. We like this tip. It seems like a sound idea to let kids take responsibility for handling deadlines and other details.
- Attend college information sessions and other events with your child. They can be highly motivational for some students. Even attending a college fair where lots of colleges have tables can help kids develop enthusiasm and get going.
- Identify your student’s mentors and connect with them. They could be favorite teachers, sports coaches, or college guidance counselors. This shouldn’t be “ganging up” on your student. Rather it should be connecting and sharing information with someone else who cares about your child’s success.
- Get advice from other parents who have already helped their kids navigate the application process. They can offer reality-based support and suggestions that can help you motivate your child to get excited about the process of applying to college . . . and get those applications done.
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