Let’s face it… junior and senior years of high school are stressful. Working your butt off so that your transcript presents well, taking ACTs, SATs, Subject Tests, APs… Yikes! It could make any parent stress out! Hold on…. parent? Isn’t this about you– the student, the applicant, the one who is geared up to go to college? What’s this talk about parents and being stressed out?

Well, because if your parents are worried about you and “all of the above”, they will be inclined to put even more pressure on you. You don’t need this. The less stressed out your parents are, the less stressed out you will be. Making it your job to keep your parents calm means you will be able to embark on a much more pleasant and manageable experience.

So… here are some quality tips to keep you parents in a good place throughout the college process:

  • Show interest! This is YOUR future. Let your parents know that you care about the schools you are looking at. Find 2 or 3 interesting aspects about each of them. Make it your business to do this research so that you, and therefore they, can feel good about taking the time to visit, apply and ultimately dream about going to one of these places.
  • When you visit schools- take the lead and be engaged. You are starting a whole new phase in your life; this is your opportunity to approach it in an independent manner. Your parents should really just be your support team. Check yourself in for your info session. Ask your own questions on the campus tour. And if you really want to impress, reach out in advance to a professor in a department you are interested in to set up a meeting which you will attend on your own. Then follow up with a thoughtful thank you that you write yourself. Schools will appreciate this and recognize that you are taking the initiative. And so will your parents. It’s a win win situation.
    • Be organized about your schools and applications. Create your own spreadsheets with the status of interviews, applications and other submissions. You are going need these organization skills when you are on your own at college anyway. Prepare now. Be impressive.
    • And finally… be grateful. Say thank you to your parents for their support. Whether your family is paying out or going the financial aid route- appreciate the focus they are giving to you and your future. College is a huge commitment. Don’t take any of this for granted.

    Summary? Be involved, take the lead and care about your college process. Really. It’s awesome if your parents want to be supportive, but now is the time for YOU to step up and tell them you got this. Ultimately, YOU need to be happy with the school you go to. Why not make the process of getting there a stress free, happy one for everyone involved?

Cathy Hildenbrand worked as a television producer, writer, and director before starting her company, Laylabelle Productions, a company with a focus on telling story through marketing, non profit, and events pieces.  Originally published on Medium