Setting Expectations

Managing Expectations For The College Admissions Process, Funding & More

Families usually reach out to me with lots of questions and unclear expectations. Although parents usually do have some idea of the admissions process and timeline from their own college experience, most know that the process has drastically changed since their college days.

Student’s understanding and expectations of the process is much murkier. Their research usually happens in the cafeteria, hallways and classrooms in their high schools, fueled by the myths and misconceptions of their peers. One of my first tasks is to dispel these myths and manage the expectations of both the student and the parents.

Setting Expectations
Setting Expectations

Listed Below Are Some Of The Questions I Receive From Both Students And Parents, With My Answers

What will be required of both me and my student during the college admissions process?

This is a great question. I have bulleted the basic requirements for both of you during this process and labeled those requirements either P for Parent, S for Student, or B for Both:

  • Creating a list of colleges that fit the criteria the student and parents want – B
  • Taking either the SAT or ACT at least once, probably two or three times – S
  • Visiting as many of the colleges as possible before applying – B
  • Completing the college application – S
  • Securing letters of recommendation from counselor and academic teachers – S
  • Writing the primary essay, editing and polishing – S
  • Completing all other requirements needed to apply to college – S
  • Completing the FAFSA – P
  • Sending in the complete applications by the deadline – S

When should I begin this process?

The process of applying to college can be very stressful for both parents and students. Families should begin to actively prepare beginning sometime in the fall of the student’s junior year to minimize the stress as much as possible.

What role do parents need to play in the college admissions process?

For a detailed list of the role parents need to play in the college admissions process, please refer to my answer on the requirements for both parents and students above.

As you can see, most of the responsibility falls on the student, as it should be. Oftentimes, families will decide to hire me as I will act as a coach for the student, supporting them through all of the steps in the process and ensuring that all parts to their application are completed and turned in on time.

Setting Expectations
Setting Expectations
Setting Expectations

What If My Child’s Other Parent Is Not Supportive Of This Process, What Can I Do?

That is a great question and needs to be answered in two parts. If the child’s other parent isn’t supportive of the college admissions process, there is not really a lot you can do. I suspect that if they aren’t supportive now, they haven’t been supportive for a while.

The parent that you lived with most during the last 12 months is required to complete the FAFSA. If you did not live with one parent more than the other, provide information about the parent who provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.

What Should I Do If My Child Has Extra Needs Or Accommodations?

This is another great question. If your child needs accommodations, this is something that should be addressed while they are in high school.

You can explore help either through the IEP process, if you feel they have a learning difference. Or through a 504 plan, if you feel they have other issues, such as ADHD, and have a documentation from their medical doctor stating that.

How I Can Help You With Realistic Expectations For What’s Ahead

I have been supporting students through the admissions process for over 30 years. I feel it is important that I stay current with any new college requirements and expectations, which is why I tour at least 10 colleges a year, and attend professional conferences.

I support families through the entirety of the college process, including finding majors and colleges that fit the student’s talents, skills, and interests; advising them about test prep, coaching them through all of their essays and much more.

I take the guesswork out and ensure that all students I work with complete a high quality application with well written essays and recommendations on time.

As a former special education teacher and school counselor, my knowledge of the college admissions process is extensive and I can help you manage your expectations with realistic timelines and milestones. Contact me at or 240-285-1920 to explore how I can support both you and your student through this process.

Get In Touch!

Do you need help understanding the college admission’s maze? College is NOT what it was 20 years ago. Let us show you the ropes so your kid has a stronger chance of getting into college with less stress and less anxiety.

Schedule a free 30-minute consultation with me on my calendar or click the “contact us” button and I will get in touch with you.  I look forward to connecting with you soon.