It’s become unclear for many parents just exactly how to best help their students navigate the college admissions process. But you can start by making a parents’ pledge to your students. I have a suggested five-point version below.
Parents’ pledge to high school students
1. Your college education is very important to us and we’re willing to make reasonable sacrifices to support it.
2. We’re not going to college—you are. So while we’re here to help and support you in any way we can, we’re not going to pick the schools, fill out the applications, or otherwise do the work for you. Please accept this invitation to take the reins and help us preserve our family relationship.
3. You don’t need a perfect GPA, high SAT scores, or an offer of admission from a prestigious college for us to love you. Consider our love a given no matter what happens from a college—or any other—standpoint. That said, we would like for you to try your best, be nice to people, take out the trash when we ask, occasionally pick up your room, minimize how often you fight with your siblings, drive at or under the speed limit, and most importantly, be safe, responsible and happy.
4. There will be occasions in the coming months when both your friends and ours will want to compare college results. We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that we’re not keeping score and you shouldn’t either. This isn’t a status competition.
5. We’re going to proudly buy sweatshirts and paste stickers on our car windows bearing the name of whatever college you decide to go to. We’re excited about this next stage of your life and we hope you will make the most of your four years in college with as much learning, fun and self-discovery as you can soak up. Also, if we turn your room into a gym after you leave, it doesn’t mean we don’t miss you.