Getting your kid ready for college can seem like an endless task. You have to worry about campus visits, SAT or ACT scores, AP classes and tests, extracurricular activities, financial aid, scholarships, applications, and grades. Helping one son or daughter through this process can be exhausting. Helping multiple kids prepare for college at the same time can seem like a nightmare.
You can breathe easy when you realize millions of parents ace this every year. Follow in their footsteps by thinking of yourself as manager, taking advantage of help, and setting limits.
Let Prep Expert help you get your kids ready for college by enrolling in an SAT or ACT course.
Think Of Yourself As A Manager
Preparing two or more kids for college at once is too much work if you do everything yourself. Instead, think of yourself as a manager and put others to work.
Sometimes it’s easier to do something yourself than to make your kid do it. This attitude might be healthy for small things, such as when you clean up after your child or fold his or her laundry. But, you will need a shift in attitude if you want to help more than one child prepare for college at the same time. There are too many tasks and you can’t be in two places at once.
Try to think of yourself as a manager. Your main job isn’t to do the work of preparing all your kids for college at once. Instead, your job is to train your children to get ready for college on their own. Also, you will need to recruit as many helpers as possible.
Give Your Children A Job Description For Getting Ready For College
Give you children a job description so they know what their responsibilities are in preparing for college.
The role of a manager is to delegate responsibilities. A good place to start in managing your children’s preparation for college is to write a one that clearly delineates all their responsibilities. Here’s a quick list of things that should be included: AP classes, AP tests, submission deadlines for all test scores, a list of universities (including a reach, match, and safety school), college applications, transcripts, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, ACT or SAT preparation, a personal statement, financial aid applications and deadlines, and scholarship applications.
When you give this job description to your child, you need to explain that the responsibility for making these things happen rests on his or her shoulders, not yours. Be honest with your son or daughter and tell him or her that you simply don’t have time to do everything. Also, be clear about how you plan to help him or her along the way.
A good second step to have your child turn this job description into a master schedule. He or she may need to do research online, talk to a guidance counselor, and contact colleges. Once your child finishes, it’s your job to hold him or her responsible for meeting deadlines. Also, you’ll know when you do need to step in and provide even more help.
Hand Responsibilities Off To Your Children
Teach your children how to be responsible for most of the work of preparing for college.
Once your children know what their responsibilities are, you can monitor how well they are performing each task. It’s important to help your children split tasks up into bite-sized chunks that they can reasonably accomplish.
For example, your child can apply for financial aid from the federal government starting in October of his or her senior year. Make sure your son or daughter fills out financial aid applications himself or herself. Before sending it off, you can look over the application to make sure he or she did everything right.
Does this sound scary? It shouldn’t. If you are holding your child responsible to meet deadlines, he or she won’t miss anything. Letting go like this can be difficult, but you will need the time it saves you to help your other kids prepare for college. Also, you want your child to feel self-empowered as he or she heads into college, instead of feeling managed his or her whole life.
For some of the tasks, such as college visits, you may have to be more involved. You can take these moments to offer your counsel as your children make some of the most important decisions of their lives.
Know How To Cut Things From Your Schedule
Cut an activity out of your schedule for every one that you add.
One day you are taking your son to visit a university three hours away. The next day you are picking your three kids up from extracurricular activities at different locations - which is good because universities love to see well-rounded students involved in such activities. Then, you have to attend a financial aid meeting. At some point you don’t have room to add anything to your schedule, even when important things come up.
You will have to get good at cutting things out of your busy schedule. You can negotiate with your children by coming up with a simple rule. Every time you help them accomplish something in their job description, they have to help you out somehow. This help might be a chore around the house, or driving a younger child to and from an activity.
Think of ways to double-up and have two or more of your children do a college preparation activity together. For example, you could have two kids take the same SAT or ACT prep course, such as what Prep Expert provides.
Get Online Help When You Can So You Don't Need To Drive As Much
Some activities, such as SAT or ACT prep, can be done online, which saves you and your children driving time.
As much as you love your children, you probably don’t enjoy driving them around. Even if your son or daughter drives, that isn’t the best use of his or her time. Luckily, you can do a lot of college preparation online.
Prep Expert offers some of the best SAT and ACT prep courses online. You child will attend class by video and ask questions just like in an in-person class. The tutors have all scored in the 99th percentile on the test they teach, and there is even a score increase guarantee. This option is a slam dunk if your schedule is full because your child can attend from home. You don’t have to drive anywhere.
Take Advantage Of Guidance Counselors
Your school has a guidance office that can help you and your children prepare for college. Use this person!
Just as a hiring manager would want to find the most skilled people for the job, so you want to take advantage of the people who are most skilled at preparing kids for college: school guidance counselors. Their services are free, they know all the ins and outs of college preparation, and your kids might be able to meet with them during school time.
Guidance counselors can often give detailed relevant answers to any questions you and your children might have. For instance, they might know of specific colleges that match your children’s interests and abilities, have valuable connections at those colleges, know of scholarships your children can apply for, and even help your children understand what careers would they could be good at.
You can have your son or daughter meet with his or her guidance counselor when questions arise throughout the process of preparing for college. Perhaps have your child talk to a counselor about his or her college preparation job description.
Many parents overlook guidance counselors because it seems like everything can be found on the internet. One major problem is that the internet has too much information to sift through, so using a knowledgeable human resource is often the best option for coming up with detailed advice.
Know Your Limits And Make Time For Fun
Decide how much time you can reasonably devote to getting your kids ready for college and stick to it. Make time for fun and relaxation.
Perhaps you don’t mind working yourself to death when you are helping your kids prepare for college. However, doing so might do more harm than good. First, if you burn yourself out, you might not be any good to anyone. Secondly, it sets a bad example for your children.
Your example as a role model is probably the most powerful influence you have over your children. If you can set reasonable limits and still have fun while preparing your children for college, you kids are likely to follow in your footsteps. For instance, many students fret for months over their personal statements, which are part of their college application. Parents can get involved by proofreading countless revisions. You can help your child by setting a limit of three revisions.
Such boundaries will help you and your children learn to prioritize and work well under pressure. These qualities will empower your kids throughout the entire process of getting ready for college, and even help them once in college.
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