Generation Gap: What are the Parent-Child Misunderstandings of College Admission?

is, for most young people, their first step into adulthood. While they may have had parents deciding on every aspect of their lives to date, they are now expected to take a more proactive roll.

This is, of course, not a stress that they shoulder alone. Many parents will attest to the fact that they feel more stress with their children’s applications than they did with their own. This heightened stress makes it easy for tempers to flare and arguments to ensue. Some parents struggle to allow their child to take the lead, and this may lead to a battle as their teenage child fights for autonomy and a greater amount of control.

Let’s take a look at the parent child misunderstandings of college admission:

Many parents of applicants will not be abreast of the changes to education since they were young and may approach their children with advice that is out dated and unhelpful. While they’re well-meaning input comes from a good place, it can be the cause of arguments. The role of parents in education is a hard one, and misunderstandings are commonplace. Here are a few that are a regular cause of concern and possibly argument:

One common misunderstanding that parents have is about the GPA. Many parents feel that with the numbers of applications that admissions officers receive they can only filter applicants out using GPA scores, and will ultimately choose the highest scorers. In truth every part of the application is read, as the officers want a completely rounded view of their applicants. Officers are more impressed by seeing students who take hard subjects and get ‘B’s than those who go for easier subjects and get ‘A’s. If your child is opting for more rigorous classes then they are making better choices than you may be giving them credit for.

Another common misunderstanding is that students should be getting their recommendations only from teachers who have given them an ‘A’. Parents may express upset if their child doesn’t follow this method of thinking, however, the truth is that colleges like to see recommendations from a teacher who knows the student well.

A common misunderstanding of some parents is that they can help with the essay. This help can sometimes mean taking over. They assume that admissions staff won’t know that they’ve done work. However, this is an admissions officer’s job. They read hundreds of these yearly and are able to spot when an applicant has had too much assistance. A helping hand and some guidance are great, but parents knowing when to stop is also important.

It is not easy for parents to let go, and accept that they will soon be parenting college students, which will mean simply being at the end of a phone to give advice and send money. The best advice for the parents of applicants is the same advice for parents of college freshmen; accept that this is the stage of your child’s life where they truly learn to stand on their own two feet. This is what you have been heading towards. Let them go and be there to help when they ask.

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