Parent College Coach Tip #52: How to Navigate the College Roadblocks

college roadblocksParenting isn’t for cowards. Every day brings new challenges and new drama, especially if you’re living with a college bound teen. Navigating college roadblocks can be tricky at best, but as with any difficulties, anticipating the possibilities can help you face them with confidence.

Your college-bound teen tells you that she simply MUST go to Private College A, even though she knows it comes with a high price tag.

Don’t let her bully you into sending her to a college you can’t afford AND one that will require a tremendous amount of student loan debt. Sit her down and explain to her the dangers of graduating in debt. Use the college repayment calculators if you have to. If she truly wants to go to Private College A, she needs to do the work (good grades, good SAT/ACT scores, great essay) to be awarded scholarship/grant money from that college. If not, there are always other options and choices.

Your college-bound teen misses deadlines, panics and comes running to you at the last minute to fix it.

The simplest way I know to avoid missing deadlines, is to get yourself a huge wall calendar and a fat red marker. Put it in a place that they have to pass by every single day. In addition, with all the smartphones and calendar apps available today, missing a deadline should be a thing of the past. At some point (hopefully when they go to college), they will have to fix their own problems. Let them do it now, while they live at home, and it will be easier for them once they are gone. Rescuing your kids all time only makes them into dependent adults and colleges aren’t impressed with those type of students or the parents that come with them.

Your college-bound teen refuses to get out of the car on a campus visit.

Before you even get out 0f the car your son announces that he’s just not feeling it. Don’t even attempt to decipher what that means because it’s impossible to understand. You’ve driven (or flown) to go to a college he had on a list and now he’s just not feeling it. Bench your anger, take a deep breath and get out of the car. You’ve come all this way and you’re going to visit the college. In the best of worlds he will get out with you. In the worst of worlds he’ll stay in the car. In this case, there’s not much you can do with an obstinate teenager; it’s best to move on.

Your college-bound teen refuses to get organized.

Procrastination—a teenager’s favorite technique for avoidance. If procrastination is their favorite technique, then “tomorrow” is their favorite word. Parents detest hearing that word from their kids, especially when it comes to the application process. What’s a parent to do? You can leave them to their own devises or you can be smart and find ways to help them stay organized. Beat them at their own game: text and email them reminders. If you’re sneaky, you can even add them to the calendar alerts on their smartphone or laptop. Hey, whatever works.

Read all of the Parent College Coach Tips here.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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