Your College Team: Know the Roles

The college search can be a major production, and everyone around you has a role to play. However, for the show to run smoothly, all the players will need to know their roles to keep from stepping on toes. Your parents, friends, teachers and mentors can all help, but if they overstep their boundaries they can do more harm than good.

Parents should:

  • Be in the “back seat” – and not the driver – of the college search process
  • Stay tuned in
  • Be aware of deadlines and fees due
  • Be open to dialogue and responsive to questions, but keep the heavy discussions to once a week, max
  • Know that things have changed since their college days
  • Help their student understand the college search and admission process
  • Be realistic and non-judgmental
  • Not overemphasize their own alma maters
  • Understand that students are not a product to be marketed
  • Not compare their student with others
  • Celebrate successes
  • Not dwell on disappointments, like rejection from a certain college

What you can do to help your parents:

  • Show them the admitted profiles of last year’s class so they are aware of how competitive some colleges might be, even if you are the top student in your class
  • Invite them to accompany you to college fairs and on college visits
  • Share your college research with them and get their opinions
  • Make sure that you are aware of the financial assistance they will be able to provide so that you can make educated decisions about options
  • Share information with your parents as you move along the college search road
  • Have them develop a list of questions they would like answered by the various colleges
  • Work with them on “letting go” so that they can deal with the empty nest when you go off to college

High school counselors should:

  • Monitor your four year academic plan
  • Build self esteem and self confidence
  • Help you explore college majors and career interests
  • Help you to understand the differences between high school and college
  • Assist in your search for college options
  • Identify and develop your college expectations
  • Serve as an advocate for the you in the college search and application process
  • Help you access information that is essential to the college search and financial aid process
  • Write recommendations

Admissions officers should:

  • Recruit students to the college
  • Respond to inquiry emails sent to the college
  • Try to know all there is to know about their colleges and be honest about this information
  • Read applications and be involved in making college admission decisions
  • Meet with students and their families on campus, at college fairs, high school programs and college receptions
  • Look for reasons to admit not reject

Your friends should:

  • Provide emotional support
  • Celebrate successes, and not dwell on disappointments
  • Not make college admissions a contest


When you’re ready to begin your college search, Cappex has tons of college search resources to help you find the perfect college match.