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Seven things your student wants you to know about the college-admissions process

March 22, 2013 | Ian Richardson

The college search is unlike any other experience. As students prepare to go out into the world on their own but still need and value the help of their parents, the process is ripe for misunderstandings. Miscommunication can, and often does, happen. And there are some things your student may expect you to know or — not want to tell you.

While the process isn’t the same for everyone, we have compiled a list of seven things your child likely wants you to know, but won’t necessarily tell you. These are real statements from real Evangel students, but the names have been changed.

1. I want this decision to be mine, but I still value your opinion.

“Speaking from personal experience, one of the most frustrating responses to the question, ‘What do you think?’ is ‘Whatever you want. It’s up to you.’ The opinion of my parents was always a vital piece of information I needed to make my decision. They didn’t make it for me, but I needed to know where they stood.” – Rachel, 20

“Being supportive of a student’s choice of school is a key factor in their mental and emotional health while they are there. If a student does not feel like their parents agree with his choice, he will be very unhappy while at school, even if he is having a great time and learning there will always be that knowledge that his parents do not want him there.” – Derek, 20

2. I want you to respect me enough to make big decisions.

“My parents were really good about all of these things – my mom really pushed hard for me to come to Evangel, but ultimately she would have respected my decision wherever I decided to go.” – Jon, 21

3. I need you to be reassuring and supportive during the process.

“Students want encouragement. Space and acceptance isn’t always enough; sometimes they just want their parents to encourage them and help build the vision for their future.” – Lauren, 21

“When I went into college, I had only a very vague idea of what I wanted to do. I wasn’t sure I was in the right major, and I had no idea what my goals were beyond college. Looking back, I see that this is typical and completely okay, but back then it was a bit scary. My parents were great about being reassuring even in the times of doubt, and that fed me a lot of the strength I needed during the process.” – Rachel, 20

4 . I really want you to explore the options with me, not just give me a list and have me research them myself.

“My first discovery of Evangel was on a Sunday afternoon. My mom and I sat down at the computer and surfed the website, looking at the programs and activities it had to offer. Both of us were amazed at how much everything seemed to fit what I wanted. Discovering this together allowed us to have a shared experience. We both were on the same page. We connected. It wouldn’t have been the same had I been looking by myself. It also showed that my parents wanted to be an active part of the process. It showed me they cared.” – Micah, 20

5. Visit days are a big deal. Be there.

“High school students want to see the campus, and most of the time they want their parents there with them.” – Ben, 18

6. Pray for me and with me about this.

“Praying with your student who is looking into schools is one of the most encouraging things that a parent can do. It shows them that you are supporting them and helps to keep the whole process focused on making the choice that God is leading them toward.” – Derek, 20

7. It’s time to start letting go.

“Parents need to respect the freedom and opportunities their children are going to have in college. I feel like my relationship with my parents has strengthened more through trust.” – Chelsea, 19

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