On The Trinity Perspective, you will find those answers—or at least someone who asked the same questions. We have been in your shoes. The Trinity Perspective collects advice and stories from current students, parents, faculty, and alumni to share with you—prospective students, families, and the Trinity community.

Parents During the College Search--5 Tips for Calming Their Nerves

By Paige Roth ('15)
Paige Roth '15
Biology Researcher & Playwright

It’s the fall of your senior year. You have made the college list. You are frantically writing supplement questions and college essays. Your college travel schedule rivals the frequency of the local football team. Senior classes aren’t a cakewalk, your friends are trying to make some last minute memories, and, to top it all off, your parents are acting…how do we put this? Odd.

I still remember trading stories with my friends about our parents’ college transition.

“My mom leaves pro, con lists for me at the breakfast table."

“My dad has declared family dinner mandatory.”

“My mom has started crying over my old baby albums.”

“I can't believe my dad insisted we repave our mile-long driveway and re-mulch our yard together this weekend. He insisted it had to happen THIS weekend.”

“My mother interrogates college tour guides like they are on trial for murder.”

Sound familiar? Suddenly all parents' emotions are on the fritz. You are constantly in trouble or suddenly smothered with affection. Or worse—both.

The fact is: college searches today are not all about you. Generally, parents are highly invested in your college process. Don’t be surprised if college research becomes a part time job for both of your parents. I am here to tell you that it’s normal.

Here are my 5 Pieces of Advice for making your parents feel at ease and getting the most of your college search together:

  1. Show your parents your have things under control my sending them a list of dates. Be sure to include: SAT, ACT, Early Decision, Early Action, and Regular decision dates.
  2. Make a Google Document with your current college list and share it with your parents. Keep it up to date with Pros and Cons for each school, deadlines, questions to ask during your visit, and if the school is a safety, match, or reach. This will ensure your parents are up to date with the most recent information and you are organized.
  3. Take initiative and organize a family night. I recommend picking a favorite family movie, cooking dinner, planning a day trip, or board game night. Show your parents that you aren’t going to forget to make time for them now or in college.
  4. ASK for your parents advice. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times by now, your parents know best, but they also know you best and where you will be most successful. As I begin my graduate school search my mom is already sick of me asking her opinion—and that’s a good thing.
  5. Enjoy the process and your parent’s role in it. Some of my favorite memories from my senior year involve sitting in a coffee shop after a college visit in a new town debating the pros and cons of the school with my parents. They really are your best advocates and won’t steer you wrong.


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