How to Talk About College Plans–And College Essays Too

April 12, 2014.  The latest Issue of the Atlantic Monthly shows a boy on the cover wearing a pillow strapped around him, and features a story called “Stop Helping Your Kids With Their Homework.” The article tells about Broken Compass, a book that attempts to answer the question, “how can parents best help their kids with schoolwork?” In a nutshell, after combing through thirty years of studies and tracking 63 different measures of parental participation in kids’ academic lives, the authors found that:

“Most measurable forms of parental involvement seem to yield few academic dividends for kids….But there are a handful of habits that make a difference, such as reading aloud to young kids and talking with teenagers about college plans.”

This is consistent with the Essay Coaching philosophy stated in our free white paper, How Parents Can Help Support Students Who Are Working on Their College Application Essay.

College applications can be stressful–this we know. To relieve the stress, talk. Parents:  talk with your student about where you went to school, or where you wish you had gone to school. Visit colleges, and talk to admissions officers. Ask admissions officers for email addresses of students your high school student can chat with.  This is an interesting time for parents, figuring out how much to push.  Most parents find it challenging.  Talk to professionals. Talk to school counselors. Talk to other parents.  But stay involved.

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