written by
Lauren Lynch

How can parents best help with the college application process?

Admissions Tips 6 min read
Phil Roeder | CC BY 2.0

If you are a parent or guardian of a high school student, you may find yourself wishing for the sleepless nights of infancy or the “terrible twos” instead of having to shepherd your child through the college application process. This process - rewarding and exciting in so many ways - can also bring lots of uncertainty as you aim to fulfill all of your hopes for your child's future. Parents often feel as though every other parent knows something they don’t, adding strain to a process that can deepen tension in any parent/child relationship. Helping high schoolers prepare for college applications is not for the faint of heart.

Like many rites of passage, the college application process can be made not only easier, but even, miraculously, enjoyable. Handled correctly, you and your child can come through this process feeling closer to each other and mutually excited about the path ahead. While every parent has different concerns, most stumbling blocks in the process seem to focus around the following issues.

Organization.

Some high school students are profoundly diligent and organized, some are hopeless procrastinators who will wait until the last minute to complete assignments, and most fall somewhere in between. It can be very hard to reconcile the inherent urgency of the college application process (created both by internal expectations and the very real external calendar of deadlines) with the natural tendencies of your children.

Instead of attempting to control how and when your child completes each application task, it is often a relief to work with outside experts who can help manage the process without you feeling caught in between. A Bullseye advisor will not only assist your child in identifying what and when each task needs to be done, but will also work closely with them as they pursue these deadlines together.

Bullseye College Advising has a fully articulated curriculum, including worksheets and expectations, to ensure that even the most disorganized student will get through the college application process successfully. Allowing space for the Bullseye advisor to set timeline goals means the parent and student can focus on other, more meaningful, aspects of the college preparation process - like making sure your child knows how to do laundry. And change sheets.

Finding The Right College.

together now
Photographer: John Schnobrich | Source: Unsplash

As parents, we thought choosing a day care was hard. Little did we know how agonizing the process of building a college list could be.

There are endless debates about which colleges should be included on the list, and why. There is the pervasive fear that if you just look a little bit more, you might find THE perfect school that has so far been evading you. Add to that the complication of doing adequate college research in a time of COVID-19, and an already complex process feels insurmountable.

While some students are swayed by school rankings, others might be more invested in focusing on the quality of the fit as they shape their list. Knowing how to find a perfect list—one that is well balanced, appropriate, personalized, and deeply exciting—is something that Bullseye advisors excel at. Most Bullseye advisors are either current college students or recent graduates: this means that your student will have access to our entire network of advisors, who can share personal, thoughtful information with your student about their particular college, program, major, and experiences.

No one should apply to schools they would actually not want to go to solely because they are prestigious or, conversely, easy to get into. Getting the inside scoop from our advisors will ensure that your child has the most up-to-date information with which to make these crucial decisions.

With over 4,000 colleges and universities in the U.S. alone, there is no reason to have a college list that isn’t perfectly tailored to your student. College guidebooks, online research, and school college counselors are all great resources to use, but with our College Questionnaire and combined years of experience, your child’s Bullseye advisors will ensure that their final college list will yield the best possible outcome.

The Essays.

If you feel the desire to write a book, what would it be about?
Photographer: Glenn Carstens-Peters | Source: Unsplash

Rare is the teenager who enjoys introspection, and rarer still is the one who is willing to share that introspection - in 650 words or less - with others. The dreaded college essay is, hands down, the biggest stressor for most students and families in the college application process. Most high school students haven’t (thankfully) encountered great tragedy, which ironically often leaves families feeling at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a topic that will help your child stand out in the process.

At Bullseye College Advising, we know that every student has a story to tell. Our specialty is helping your child find a narrative, a theme, that will help tie the application together, and we will ensure that they make a lasting impression on the Admissions Officer reading their application. Since college essays are nothing like essays for English class, they demand a level of thoughtfulness and expressiveness that will resonate with the reader.

A college essay needs to be polished, yes, but also needs to be a genuine narrative maintaining the student’s own voice and story. Bullseye advisors will bring out the best in your child’s writing process, and our thoughtful and professional team will ensure that even the most reluctant writer feels proud of their results.

Paying for College.

If only parents could get back all the money they spent on Legos over the years and use it for college instead! College is expensive. Horrifyingly, unbelievably expensive. A few parents are able to pay for college without too much worry, but most are not. There are many options that help offset the sticker price of higher education, but figuring out the ins and outs of scholarships and financial aid is exhausting, complicated, and often demoralizing.

Bullseye College Advising has always been deeply committed to evening the playing field, so much so that we have created the Bullseye Scholars program, allowing 50 hard working, low income students to use our services for free each year. In addition to that, we have a designated Financial Aid and Scholarships team, which will allow you to get expert, individualized guidance on how to handle financial aid and scholarship applications. Our partnership with FRANK also gives you the incredible benefit of free, easily comprehensible access to the FAFSA and other necessary documents.

Support.

Your child’s junior and senior years in high school can be wonderful, but they can also be hard. These years are preparing them for independence, and much as you want them to thrive (and might also really want them to go, already), this period of transition can be difficult. Bullseye Advisors are sympathetic to this process, having been through it recently themselves, and will provide both concrete guidance and caring support to you and your family throughout the application process. We love what we do, and we hope you will love working with us.

Phil Roeder | CC BY 2.0

This informational essay was written by Lauren Lynch, Bullseye’s Director of Advising and a former College Admissions Officer. If you need help with any part of your college application, find a Bullseye Admissions advisor who fits your needs and register with Bullseye today.

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