College Transition – Division of Labor

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 9,212
    Wendie Lubic, parent educator and coach from the Parent Encouragement Program, talks about division of labor between parents and teens when preparing for college.

    Wendie Lubic: Hi! I am Wendie Lubic from the Parent Encouragement Program. I am talking to you today that had smooth the transition between high school and college for you and your teenager. Now I am going to discuss the importance of dividing the work between you and your teen. One of the best analogies that helps with the division of labor is to think about the teen as the player on a field, making the place and choosing which way to run. The parent is more of a cheerleader or the financial booster squad, we really want to be behind the scenes supporting our teen as they go through this process, because in the end it's about them and their future and not bad us.

    I have divided these jobs up into what the teen should be doing and what the parents should be doing so that you can support them without taking over. The teen has several jobs, the first is to manage the process if they are up to it, if their organizational skills are not as strong as we would like them to be, we can step in and sort of help them along the way. They need to really define and set some goals for themselves in terms of their academics, in terms of what schools they think they want go to and in terms of what they think they might want to study. They should also be interacting all the time with their guidance counselor and their teachers, especially since the teachers are going to be the once riding them the recommendations. Researching schools is also important. Hearing from friends what schools are great and what schools aren't, is wonderful for most teens, but at the same time they need to do their individual research online and in books, to really find out what the campuses are like. The other important thing for teens is to keep their grades and scores up. These numerical portions are really going to the help the colleges look at them along with their essay and all of the recommendations to judge whether they would be a good fit in that school. These scores in eleventh grade are the most important because those are the ones that colleges are going to judge them on. As a parent our job is to support our teen's effort and help them with those organizational skills that they need. Put together a joint calendar that has all of the information on it that you will need when the tests occur, when the applications are due and how and when the things can get done. Also work on keeping the stress level low, work with your teen and the school to find out what the best placement would be for them and how to manage their list.

    One of the best ways to think about the list is that their should be 1/3rd of the schools should be Reach Schools, 1/3rd should be schools that they can get in at least 50% of the time and then the bottom should be their safety schools that they can pretty much guaranty that they are going to get in. Another thing we do as a parent is to enable and schedule those important college visits. Those visits can start as early 10th grade although usually they happen during the Spring of junior year. They are really important for teens because they help them envision what it's going to be like when they get to college and to sort of think about what it's like living on a college campus. It's all well and good to apply to a campus that you have never seen, but it really looks differently once you have got that acceptance in your pocket. So you want to make a sure that you visit not only before you apply, but also after the acceptance has come in. Next I am going to discuss the emotional ups and downs that are associated with assisting your teen, making this transition from high school to college.