How much did you help your kids with college applications?

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Posted 11/18/2012 by Monklady123 in NSBR Board

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 475,028
July 2010
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Loc: Northern VA

Posted: 11/18/2012 12:14:39 PM
Dd told me this morning that the mother of her friends basically wrote all the friend's college application essays. The friend gave mom the ideas she wanted to talk about and then the mom wrote the essays. Dd said "Mom, isn't that kind of like cheating?" I agreed that it was. Then she was worried that what we did was cheating. I assured her that I don't think so. lol.

She wrote her essays and then I read them. I corrected some grammatical stuff -- like one place she really should have used a semi-colon instead of a period. Things like that. For one of the essays I also suggested something she had left out entirely. Her response was "omg you're right, how could I have forgotten that?" and she added it.

I also coached her on the cover letter for the extra stuff she had to take to the open house weekend (the actual application was posted on-line). She said "cover letter?" lol. I told her to pretend this was a job application and to get in practice for writing a cover letter. I told her the basic things that should be in a cover letter, and different ways you show the school/company that you've researched them and why they're a good fit for you. Then she wrote it herself. I do find our high school counseling department VERY lax in some of the things they have not given information about. In their defense they are very overworked; it's really the fault of the county school administration who won't hire more counselors. But that's another post.

I don't think I went too far. I did every single step of all my applications by myself and I remember wishing that my parents had shown a bit more interest. I try not to go too far in the other direction with dd, in response to my parents.

So what has your experience been?

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PeaNut 156,993
July 2004
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Loc: Connecticut

Posted: 11/18/2012 12:29:09 PM
I did pretty much nothing. Checked things over for spelling/grammatical errors. That's it.

We hired someone to help them flesh out their essays etc... but they wrote them themselves and I had almost zero input.

Thrift Ninja

PeaNut 226,011
October 2005
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Posted: 11/18/2012 12:30:40 PM
I had zero help. Zero.

I would absolutely help my kids. Certainly wouldn't do it for them, but I would be there, making sure it was done, proofreading, etc.


PeaNut 278,734
October 2006
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Loc: texas

Posted: 11/18/2012 12:33:47 PM
I did not help my two oldest who are now in college. The oldest had everything very organized and applied to several schools, and made it into her first choice.
The middle child applied to two or three and got into his second choice, flying by the seat of his pants. LOL
The last one is still in high school. I doubt she will need my help when the time comes.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 39,386
May 2002
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Loc: Charlotte, NC

Posted: 11/18/2012 12:55:44 PM
I helped two of my kids rework their essays. I proofread them and then told them where they needed to improve their answer but not what to say. I asked questions to help them dig deeper so their essays wouldn't be so shallow. I also told them to organize the information so that it had more structure. They did all the writing but I made them re-write or re-organize several times before they submitted the essays.

When I write an article the editor does exactly that but my name still goes on the article.


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PeaNut 15,409
May 2001
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:01:41 PM
Basically nothing. He was very organized and took care of everything himself including scheduling auditions (I did make the travel arrangements). He applied to 10 schools.



PeaNut 535,248
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:02:23 PM
My mom didn't help me at all, but that's because I didn't ask for help. I only applied to two schools and neither of them even required essays.

When I wrote my National Merit Scholar essay, I had my boyfriend and another friend who was writing the same essay look over and edit it. My mom also read it, I think, but not for editing purposes.

I would definitely help my kids (when the time comes) with their essays, etc. If all goes according to plan, I'm going to be a book editor when I grow up, so I would probably be their best option for that, anyway!

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PeaNut 227,939
October 2005
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:02:47 PM
My DS took care of it on his own. Their high school has amazing guidance in this area.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 34,233
March 2002
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Loc: MN

Posted: 11/18/2012 1:03:33 PM
Oldest didn't want my help at all. Didn't even proof her essay. Youngest has asked me to look over things on her applications before submitting. She is still working on her portfolio and essay for one school. She's asked me to look at it when she's done. I will make some suggestions if I can (art teachers will be better with the portfolio help). I won't do anything for her.

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PeaNut 21,316
September 2001
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:05:53 PM
My kid wanted me in the room when he did his. It was an online application, and he was afraid that questions would come up that he didn't know the answers to. I found his social security number for him, but he knew the rest. The questions about ethnicity really tripped him up because it wouldn't allow him to check more than one. I gave him my charge card to pay the fees online.

I might have to step in to get the high school to send transcripts though! He requested transcripts over a month ago. He paid the fees. He has no outstanding fines. He even went to the counseling office to check on things. The school hasn't sent any yet. If things aren't sent before Christmas break, he could miss some of the deadlines for scholarships. If he can't make any headway in the next couple of weeks, I feel like I will need to make a trip up to the school.

My kid didn't need any essays, but I would have proofread for him if he did. He wrote about a dozen essays last spring for essay contests, and he got pretty good at it even if he didn't win any of the contests. I have helped other high school kids with their essays before. While there weren't a lot of grammar errors, I really noticed the lack of active voice in the essays! I helped those kids to tighten things up and make every word count.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 268,201
July 2006
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:11:00 PM
3 daughters all currently in colleges. We did nothing for them other than proof read essays if they asked.

If they are ready for college, the very least they should be able to handle on their own is the application!


PeaNut 452,927
January 2010
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Loc: Mass

Posted: 11/18/2012 1:14:39 PM
none at all... thotheir HS Guidance Counselors and favorite teachers were a HUGH help with that.. I DID, however, file the FAFSA

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PeaNut 25,575
December 2001
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:15:48 PM
All we have done with our senior is kick his butt to apply for scholarships. We are asking him to stretch and apply to more than just his top choice school because of how much scholarship money he would qualify for.

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PeaNut 471,633
June 2010
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Posted: 11/18/2012 1:18:43 PM
I was there for help if requested. DS is a self-starter and highly motivated. The guidance department at his high school did an outstanding job preparing seniors for the process. So, I would say my involvement was associated with fee applications.

I did ask of I could read one of his essays which really blew me away (in a positive sense). So, I backed off feeling confident my senior had it under control.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 75,215
March 2003
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Loc: massachusetts

Posted: 11/18/2012 2:29:58 PM
I read her essays and gave her some suggestions. She did the 7-8 applications herself. She's much more organized than me. She created a color-coded spreadsheet to keep track.

I'm worried about when DS14 is a senior. He's the complete opposite.

Peaing under the Radar

PeaNut 61,691
January 2003
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Posted: 11/18/2012 2:38:05 PM
I helped a lot, and a lot more than I wanted to. My D is a procrastinator and didn't seem to want to take the reins. I did a lot of research for her, and I helped keep track of due dates for applications and scholarships. She applied only to big state schools; three of them didn't even have essays, and only one of her schools required teacher recommendations. However, she had to take care of getting the teacher recommendations and providing the guidance counselor and teachers any resume/information they wanted to do their letters, and she had to write her own essays for the two schools that required them. I did proof the essays and make suggestions (some of which were taken, others of which were ignored). I also made all the travel arrangements for her visits.

OP, my parents didn't even look at my college applications (I'm not sure they even knew where I applied), but I think it was a totally different experience back then.
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