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The college admissions process is a stressful time for students and parents alike. Not only is it a huge transition, especially if your child is moving out, but it also demands a lot of time and effort to get into a good college!

This process can be challenging for moms. Often, moms wonder about their role in the college admissions process and how they can support their kids. 

While every circumstance is different, I’ve compiled some tips for moms based on my time as an admissions committee member. Learn how you and your child can navigate the application process together. 

Familiarize Yourself With the Process

As a mom, being familiar with the college application process is essential to support your child well! 

While each college’s application requirements differ slightly, most colleges ask students to submit the following: 

  • High school transcripts
  • SAT/ACT scores
  • Personal & supplemental essays
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Extracurricular activities 

Some colleges also invite students to interview with alums or current staff. If you’re applying for scholarships, familiarize yourself with those specific requirements. 

If your child hopes to attend a high-ranking school, such as an Ivy League school, they’ll need to put careful effort into their application to be competitive. As a mom, you can also look into specific Ivy League school preparation for parents to help your child stand out. 

Encourage Exploration 

For moms, the college admissions process starts way before applications open. You’ve probably been thinking about your child’s college future for years. 

Start planning for success by encouraging your kids to pursue their interests. Having a few passions and hobbies will help them stand out on college applications, and the best way to figure out what they’re passionate about is to try many different things!

Contrary to popular belief, a long laundry list of extracurriculars won’t necessarily make your child a competitive applicant. It will look much better on applications if they commit to a few select activities for an extended period, showing they’re committed and dedicated. 

By high school, your child’s exploration should lead them to a few select interests and passions that they can pursue. Once they narrow their interests, they can lean into the activities they care about most.  

Get a Well-Rounded Perspective

Getting a well-rounded perspective of their strengths, skills, and interests is essential to learn how your child can grow and develop. Seek out your child’s teachers, coaches, employers, and other significant adults in their life, and get their view on how your child is doing. 

Teachers can provide a constructive perspective since they know how your child performs and behaves in school. They also likely have years of experience working with college-bound kids, so their feedback is valuable. Getting their perspective is a great way to gather ideas on how your child can learn and grow. 

Authenticity is Key

One of the most important pieces of advice I can give about college admissions is to be authentic! 

Many applicants fall into the trap of writing what they think admissions committees want to hear. But what we want is authenticity. Harvard University advises applicants to tell their true, authentic stories. 

As a mom, you can help cultivate authenticity in your kids to set them up for success. This will shine through in their applications if they feel safe being their genuine selves!

Consider Your Child’s Dreams

As a mom, you want the best for your children. While this is a wonderful trait, sometimes it’s helpful to step back and ensure you genuinely consider your child’s personal dreams, goals, and ambitions in this process. 

In my experience, many successful kids have parents who give them the freedom to explore their passions and the agency to make their own choices. It’s admirable to be a mom who wants to see your child thrive, but it’s also important to let your child’s dreams flourish. 

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t provide gentle guidance. Just make sure you’re listening to and working with your child as you go through the college admissions process. 

If your child is very undecided about their future college or career path, remember to encourage exploration and let them know it’s okay to make mistakes. Many students change their program or discover their biggest passion while in college, and your child might be one of them!

Provide Emotional Support 

College applications can be stressful, especially given the increasing competition and plummeting acceptance rates. The college admissions process can easily discourage, overwork, and even burn teenagers out. 

One of the best ways to support your child through the process is simply by being there for them! Providing emotional support can help your kids more than you may realize. 

Final Thoughts

While the college admissions process seems daunting to students and parents, your support will make all the difference to your college-bound kid. Being an encouraging and invested parent will go a long way to help your child find success!


Mary Banks is the Director of Admissions Consulting at Quad Education. She is also the former Director of Admissions at the Columbia School of Nursing and former Director of Admissions for the School of Education, Nursing, and the Arts at NYU.

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Get in touch: 1-800-991-0126




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