Parents, how involved should you be in your child's college admissions process? I've known parents who wanted to sit next to their child during the admissions interview. I kid you not. I've also dealt with parents who have used the dreaded "we" in their exchanges with me. "We have come up with 15 colleges that we think are a good match." "We thought that Penn State was too big." "We're trying to come up some good essay topics." Hmm.
Well then, just what should a parent's role be during the college admissions process? My parents were supportive, but maintained a respectful distance. My father took a day off work and drove me the hundred miles or so for my one and only campus visit and interview. We discussed our impressions on the way home and then I handled the application details myself. One thing that my parents weren't were helicopters. I appreciated that because as a young, dedicated Idealist, I had my own preferences about how to handle certain things, especially my college application process. My folks were certainly available for help when I needed them, but they didn't force themselves onto my working style. Thus, I was able to experience and develop some independent thinking and decision making at a critical developmental stage of my life.