Parents, we tend to focus on what our children need to do in order to prepare for the college admissions process. We focus on their study habits for the ACT/SATs, their reflection essays, and their letters of recommendation; all of which are vital, but it is also important that we discuss what parents can do to prepare for the college admissions process as well. As a parent, you are your child’s number one supporter, and it is important that you do what you can to ensure that your student feels empowered throughout the process. Below are a few important things that you can do to prepare yourself to assist your students as they prepare for college.

Let Your Student Take the Lead

It is likely that you or your spouse have been there to do everything you can for your child. While this can be the most efficient way to steer the ship, doing everything for your student can sometimes hurt more than it helps.

When we talk about empowering your student, we are talking about giving them the tools and the support they need in order to take the lead in keeping track of deadlines, studying for exams, communicating with professors and school administrators, as well as filling out applications and scholarship forms. There are countless opportunities for your child to learn and grow throughout this process, and it is important that they feel responsible every step of the way.

Determine if Your Child Needs a Coach

There will inevitably be moments when they will need help—professional help. When it comes to areas such as ACT prep or admissions into the most competitive programs, it’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start tackling the problems. This is when an experienced college admissions coach will come in handy. They will leverage their experience and familiarity with the college admissions process to help your student be successful throughout the college admissions process.

Discuss Finances and Scholarship Opportunities With Your Student

While talking about finances is never an entirely comfortable conversation, it’s important that you and your student are on the same page regarding how college will be paid for. Have you been saving up for college with a 529 saving plan or will your student need to apply for scholarships, grants, or loans? These are important conversations to have early on because many financial aid programs have early deadlines and extensive application processes that will need to be handled.

Play a Good Supporting Role

The most important thing that you can do to help your student prepare for the college admissions process is to play a good supporting role. Being supportive does not mean that you do everything for your student but rather empower them and provide them with the tools and support they need to be competitive college applicants. You can empower them by offering encouragement, providing them with the information they may need for FAFSA and Financial Aid applications, and providing guidance on deadlines among other things. Beyond that, allowing your student to take the initiative and carry out the bulk of tasks on their own will go a long way.