The college journey is a high school student’s rite of passage marked by individual exploration and personal growth. A parent’s role should always be one of an advisor, not a leader. Parents should encourage their collegebound children by serving as part of their overall team which will include not only mom and dad, but teachers, mentors, coaches, guidance counselors and so many more who have an active role in their lives. Parents know their children best, and with that in mind, they can offer constructive opinions along the way. However, offer the opinions when asked. Hold back on your personal impressions (yes, it’s hard!) to allow for your child to explore free of any disruptive vibes. You’ve already been to college and had the opportunity to choose the optimum experience for your own self; now it’s your child’s turn. Let them lead so that they will feel empowered. The earlier you allow them to manage their process, the earlier their enthusiasm will kick in and their diligence will start to show it’s face. Each small step beginning first with college research and communication followed by exciting campus visits will encourage them to take charge, make even larger strides, and move to the front quickly to control their search. If parents hover, students react by retreating. Support your child, but don’t try to take the lead.

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