The second half of December is a time for families to be together, forget about their hectic schedules and celebrate the holidays. However, for parents and their high school seniors they may remember this holiday as one of the most stressful.

December 31, midnight, is the due date for most regular decision college applications. In addition to completing their applications, many seniors are having to study and prepare for December’s ACT and SAT tests on top of end of semester finals. Standardized test scores and their fall semester grades represents the final academic material that will be submitted for admissions officers to review and, if accepted, can impact available merit-based scholarship awards. Rare is the a parents who hasn’t mentioned this to their student at some point in December, as well as in the preceding months, only to get a cold stare in return. In addition to their academic workload, they may also be heavily involved at this point in winter sports, or music competitions/programs, or volunteer and charity work.

It’s not uncommon, then, that completing the final few essays, reviewing each application, or following up on letters of recommendation have taken a back seat to getting their day-to-day work accomplished. Parents can help most over the final few weeks by acting as your student’s executive assistant and helping with the following:

  • Reviewing each application for spelling, grammar errors and completeness.
  • Locate any missing information related to awards, achievements or involvement in extracurricular  activities.
  • Reviewing the essay prompt and response to make sure they align.
  • Create a list for each college of required documents (transcript, test scores, counselor’s letter, etc.) and make sure they have been sent.

With the day-to-day work load our student’s have on their plate, combined with all of moving parts in the college application process, and the financial commitment a parent or student may incur, helping in any capacity during these final few weeks can have a lasting impact on your student’s future and hopefully lessen the stress that is on every senior’s mind this time of year.