University application season is upon us and for those with children in these critical university choice years, it is an important time. Thank you to Monica Lorick, founder of The Application Coach for these top tips. Monica is originally from the US and has been based in Switzerland for over 20 years.
Does your family have a clear roadmap for the next steps in your student’s educational journey? Great! Or are you all running around in circles? Or, worse, are your heads buried in the sand? Don’t worry! Follow these tips to help you get your student successfully to their next stage of life and to a university where they will thrive.
1. Set aside some quiet time to talk about options.
No kid wants to hear: “We need to talk!” This is an exciting stage of life, so be upbeat, “Your dad and I want to take you out for pizza to talk about life after high school.” Leave the siblings at home! This is a conversation just for you and your graduating student and they’ll appreciate the attention.
Really listen to what they’re thinking about, what they’re interested in studying, and where. Not just names of universities, but size, type, and environment. Ask them—and yourself—if they’d benefit from a gap year or an apprenticeship before potentially continuing their education. And if your student is Swiss, think about how military service fits in, if that’s applicable.
2. Talk about your family’s parameters.
Is the world really their oyster? Or, would you rather they stay closer to home or within a two-hour plane ride? Discuss what you are all comfortable with. What limitations are you willing and comfortable to impose on the university search?
3. Think about what your family can afford and is willing to spend.
Be realistic. Discuss your budget as a family. It’s great to tell your kid that they can go anywhere in the world. But when they get into their dream school that costs $80k a year will you have to break their heart, or put your family in financial jeopardy by going into debt?
4. Be honest with yourself.
Is your student ready for university? They may be brilliant (most parents thinks their own child is!) but do they have the executive function, maturity or life skills to succeed at university or in life?
If your student can’t get on a train without missing it, can you safely put them on a plane to Vancouver to go to UBC? If they can’t make toast without setting off the fire alarm, how are they going to feed themselves at Imperial? If they run through money like water, how are they going to manage the temptations of NYC when at NYU?
Now (before you release them into the big bad world) is the time for them to start “adulting”. Teach them to travel alone, cook their favorite meals, manage a budget, make their own doctor’s appointments, etc. Your kid is more capable than they let on, so stop doing everything for them!
5. Get help to manage the process.
Applying to university can be an especially fraught time for families. Many families work with an independent educational consultant who can help reduce the stress, identify the best-fit universities for students, and coach the student to write engaging essays and successful applications.
To learn how Monica can help your family, contact Monica@TheApplicationCoach.ch
Or visit Monica on LinkedIn.