Being a parent is not an easy job. Each developmental stage presents new challenges, and supporting your child in their transition from high school to university is no exception. 

In my years of experience working with students and parents, I’m often surprised to find that even though the last two years of high school can be very stressful, especially in the IB, the students were sometimes calmer about the transition process than the parents. The application season often elicits strong emotions, not just in parents of high school students, but even in parents of middle school children. They start feeling the pressures from peers and the overwhelming amount of information available, unsure of where to find the most reliable sources. This can disrupt parent-child relationships as parents try to give good advice, or are worried that their kids are behind.

Another difficulty in managing the parent-student relationship is when kids are told where they will go and study, without their own input. I have seen students subconsciously sabotage the efforts of getting into a given school because it is not really what they want, but they don’t want to disappoint their family. This can take the form of failing certain classes, not meeting deadlines,  or underperforming on external assessments. At the same time, some students get extremely stressed, fall into apathy or depressive states, and are unable to communicate their feelings and needs to their families. It often falls on the university counselor to mediate between the students and their parents. 

It is, therefore, helpful if parents also get support from college counselors. The more knowledgeable they are, the more constructive support they can offer their children, working together with them to find the best fit school and facilitate the process of transition. Consulting a university counselor can help parents find reliable information, understand admission requirements and necessary documents, and create a timeline to ensure deadlines aren’t missed. It also helps parents know what questions to ask university representatives and how to develop backup plans. Being well-informed helps parents provide the emotional support their children need, making the process less stressful and more exciting. 

Here are some steps parents can take to support their children effectively: 

  • Find reliable sources of information
  • Make a month-by-month plan
  • Speak to universities directly
  • Have a plan B
  • Speak to other parents who have gone through the process
  • Remember that your child needs you to remain grounded

As we navigate this crucial period, remember that support and guidance are available. Contact me to learn how I can assist you and your child in successfully navigating the university application process. Together, we can make this journey less stressful and more rewarding.