Cracking the College Application Code: A Parent’s Guide to Kickstarting the Process

Bored teen girl looking up from her computer and holding large paperclips in front of her eyes like glasses.

Cracking the College Application Code: A Parent’s Guide to Kickstarting the Process

Published on September 29, 2023

Bored teen girl looking up from her computer and holding large paperclips in front of her eyes like glasses.

Raise your hand if you’re the parent of a procrastinating high school senior. 🙋🏻 It’s that time of year when college applications seem to linger on the to-do list, untouched, unloved, and definitely undone. If the elephant in the room is driving you nuts — those untouched college applications — we have solutions for you. So, how do you motivate your teenager to dive into the application process with enthusiasm? Let’s break it down with humor, patience, and a dash of parental wisdom. Read on for great tips on how to handle these cringeworthy moments.

Scene 1: The Epic Application Pile-Up

Your high school senior is camped out in their dimly lit room, laptop unopened, showing zero interest in those looming college applications. Take a ‘bite-sized’ approach and gently suggest, “Let’s start with just one application this week.”  Keep in mind that tackling college applications is a bit like breaking a big task into smaller, manageable pieces—it’s the most effective way to handle it.

Scene 2: The ‘Life Reality’ Chat

College applications are like credit card debt. Remind them it’s all fun and games until you get the bill. Use relatable life metaphors, such as comparing it to binge-watching Netflix: It’s a blast until you realize it’s midnight, and you’ve got work tomorrow.

Scene 3: The Small Victories Celebration

Celebrate even the tiniest progress. Did they find the college application website? That’s cause for celebration! Make a fuss over these small triumphs by making their favorite dinner or letting them stay out a bit later on the weekend. Positive reinforcement can work wonders.

Scene 4: The Final Countdown

As the application deadline approaches, your teen is hit with a dose of reality. It’s time for the dramatic countdown reminder. Create a sense of urgency by comparing the deadline to the last days to buy tickets for the big dance. If they miss it, they’ll be out of luck — no excuses. 

When it comes to motivating your high school senior to get started on the college application process, it’s about balancing gentle nudges with laughter and love. These moments of procrastination will soon become amusing anecdotes to share. So, keep your cool, wear a smile, and rest assured—they’ll get those applications started… eventually! 🎓😄

In the end, it’s all about balancing gentle nudges with laughter and love. These moments of procrastination will soon be funny anecdotes to share with your college-bound senior. So, breathe, smile, and remember, they’ll get those applications done…eventually! 🎓😄

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Use R2C Insights to help find merit aid and schools that fit the criteria most important to your student. You’ll not only save precious time, but your student will avoid the heartache of applying to schools they aren’t likely to get into or can’t afford to attend.  

Other Articles You Might Like:

How to Apply to College: A Comprehensive Guide

What I Would Have Done Differently When I Was Applying to College

Advice from Parents on Applying and Paying for College

JOIN ONE OF OUR FACEBOOK GROUPS & CONNECT WITH OTHER PARENTS: 

PAYING FOR COLLEGE 101

HOW TO FIND MERIT SCHOLARSHIPS

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