Handling Pressure From Parents During the College Admission Process
When it comes to college admissions, sometimes the most pressure can come from inside your own family!
Your parents want the best for you.
But what should you do when pressure from your parents is harming more than it’s helping?
College planning can be a stressful time. Filling out applications, writing college essays, applying for financial aid, and taking the SATs, can seem like a daunting process.
In addition, focusing on homework, and maybe even holding down a part-time job, can add to the pressure of staying on top of the college application process.
A certain amount of stress is normal and can keep you motivated. But when stress causes loss of sleep, lack of focus, or unwanted anxiety, it’s time to figure out how to eliminate some of the pressure.
Make a list of the colleges that interest you. Be sure to write down the qualities that you’re attracted to so that your parents understand what you are (and are not) looking for.
Types of Pressure From Parents
Parents may nudge their children in the right direction by giving them a healthy dose of pressure. But when parents take their college admissions concerns to the extreme, their concern can do more harm than good.
Here are a few of the most common pressures put on students from their parents: Your parents want you to go to a specific college, maybe even their alma mater. The only problem is, you have your heart set on an entirely different school. You are expected to attend a 4-year college or university, when a 2-year degree, or vocational school, is really the best choice for you.
Your parents want you to stay close to home, but you have your eye on a college across the country.
Your parents have a right to be worried about the cost of your tuition. Chances are they will be taking on at least some of the financial burden. Although they may be happy to help, it can cause stress in their lives as well.
College prices have risen beyond what most families can afford. The Boston Globe reports that the average cost of a private 4-year college in 2009-10 was around $35,000, nearly 2.5 times as high as it was thirty years ago. Public colleges, although much less expensive, have also continued to raise prices, causing anxiety among many parents who want to help their children pay for college.
To alleviate stress on all sides, do your financial aid research. Speak to your guidance counselor to help assist you in making a realistic financial aid plan.
Find out what federal, state and private financial aid you can benefit from. Also, research scholarships you might qualify for. Applying to scholarships can be a tedious but worthwhile activity because it is essentially free money toward your tuition.
Handling Pressure From Parents: Tips and Tactics
The most important thing to remember is that you should be working as a team with your parents, not against them. If you feel like the pressure from your parents is becoming unbearable, follow these steps to help regain control in your college search:
- Schedule time to talk with your parents. Let them know how the pressure is making you feel. They might not even be aware of how much their worry is affecting you.
- Make a list of the colleges that interest you. Be sure to write down the qualities that you’re attracted to so that your parents understand what you are (and are not) looking for.
- Propose that you take over your college search alone for two weeks. At the end of that trial period, have tangible evidence that proves you can handle the college application process with a little less intervention from them.
Give these tips on talking to your parents about college a try. You may be pleasantly surprised by your results.
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