Parents can help students by supporting them during the college application process

Filling out college applications can be an anxious time for seniors. With competition for places at top universities more intense than ever before, many seniors are feeling the pressure. However, according to an article in the Huffington Post, one thing that parents of college-bound students can do to help their children is back off a little during the college application process.

Debra Ollivier wrote that although parents may feel they are helping their children by becoming actively involved in the college application process, sometimes this can have the opposite effect. Parents need to realize that although their intentions are good, putting extra pressure on seniors who are already working hard and filling out multiple applications for good schools have enough on their minds.

"Nearly every aspect of a child's persona needs to match up to the admissions grid and culture of a chosen college," Ollivier wrote. "But is all this necessary or nefarious? Do we do a disservice to our children's sense of self-reliance and authenticity by being too vigorously involved in this process?"

However, it's not just parents that need to rethink the college application process and its effect on seniors. According to an excerpt from a book on the American Academy of Pediatrics' website, colleges need to change the way they ask for information from prospective candidates.

Marilee Jones, co-author of Less Stress, More Success – A New Approach to College Admissions and Beyond, says that even something as simple as the way that college application forms are presented can cause anxiety in some students.

Jones cited the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) admissions form as an example. The paperwork includes 10 lines for students to list their extracurricular activities, which made some students think that applicants had to list 10 activities in order to be considered. Based on a question from one prospective student, college admissions officials at MIT reworked their application form.

"The most valuable and useful character traits that prepare children for success arise not from extracurricular or academic commitments, but from a firm grounding in parental love and guidance," reads an excerpt from the book. "It's about raising happy, well-adjusted adolescents who will find the right college, the best match for them personally."

If you're worried about the pressure of the college application process, talk to your parents. Tell them how you feel, and how they can help you. Don't let stress make you ill or affect your grades.

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