Five rules for college application “division of labor”

I often see parents taking on a lot more of their kid's college application responsibilities than they should be.  To maintain the right balance, here are five rules for college application "division of labor":

1. Students should drive the process.  Parents can provide organizational support, encouragement, and a little cheerleading from the sidelines, but the student who will be attending college is the one who needs to do the work to get there. 

2. All contact with colleges should be initiated by the student, not the parent (unless the question is a financial one).

3. Students should fill out their own applications and write their own essays.  Don’t mix helpful proofreading/editing with ghost authoring.

4. While not mandatory, it’s common and accepted for parents to fill out financial aid forms since Mom and Dad are often the ones paying the bill.  Scholarship applications, however, are the student’s job.

5. Both parents and students should celebrate every offer of admission, move quickly past the sting of rejection, and enjoy the process in their respective roles together.