What sets a foundation for success when applying to college - Robin Dance for 31Days

Last time we discussed the influence you have in helping your child consider what field of study (s)he might pursue, particularly for those who are having a hard time figuring out what they want to do. Identifying college major potentially has great bearing on which college or university to attend, so it serves the student well when the decision is made early on (it won’t set her up for failure if she doesn’t declare a major, but we’ll talk about that in a future post).

There’s a lot of work to be done unless your child is planning on going to a local school or you’re dead set on him attending your alma mater. In other words, if he’s not considering options.

I’m of the opinion unless you’re planning on packing up and moving into the dorm with your child and escorting him to classes, it’s your child’s responsibility to do the groundwork.

Your role in helping your son or daughter throughout the college search and application process is to listen, guide, encourage, push and offer suggestions, but not to do all the background research, form completion, essay writing and other tasks related to application.

If he can’t handle those basic responsibilities, how can he possibly manage a college course load?!

I can’t help but think of the old adage You get out of it what you put into it.

When a student has invested time and energy, when he has engaged in the process of researching and applying to college, he’s setting a foundation for success.


For competitive schools, recruiters know and care about the students’ interest. An engaged, informed student will have a greater likelihood of performing well in the classroom.

I realize some kids are inherently responsible and will take the leadership role in pursuing higher education. But, I’d bet the majority of high schoolers prefer the path of least resistance: why should they do the work if they know their parent will do it for them?

Certainly, as the field of school choices are narrowed, you’re going to want compare basic information and help her think through why she might choose one college over another. Remember, you know your child better than anyone else and likely better than she knows herself. Also, you have the vantage point of an extra 20 years’ life experience, give or take a few.

Completing a college application can take hours. And while your child might need you nearby to help answer questions, don’t do the work for him. Just don’t!

Whether you’re launching your first baby or it’s your fourth kid leaving the nest, I understand your inner conflict. It’s an emotionally charged season for parent and child.

We’re going to talk about that next, before we move on to more practical matters. Don’t miss…this might just be what you need to hear….

Helpful Hints and Tips for College Bound Students by Robin Dance


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