I have never considered myself a helicopter parent. I am fairly strict with the things that I allow my kids to do, but I also let them figure some things out and make mistakes. However, when it comes to University applications, I don’t know if there is much room for error.
My daughter is taking an online course this semester, in addition to the other five classes she is taking, plus 10 hours of extracurricular activity, and a part-time job (and a boyfriend). In the essence of time and getting it right, I sometimes think, should I just do the applications for her? We are ahead of the game by a few months, but considering that we will be embarking on the application process this fall season, I can already see that getting the applications done and on-time may be a challenge.
How much would you help your kid in this process? I think there are a few ways to look at it. On one side, the applications are online, and most of the process is figure-out-able with a little time spent. Once we go through the process of narrowing down the possible choices, I think she should be able to go online, get the checklists and do the process herself. On the other hand, her plate is very full (by choice). Considering her time, stress level and concentration, I could assist by doing the application and making sure it is done correctly.
Every parent has a different take on this I am sure. We will be funding her education 100%, with the exception of possible scholarships. Therefore, I have a vested interest in getting her into the right school, with the most appropriate living situation, and without having to pay for too many unforeseen extras like transportation to and from a faraway school a dozen times a year. However, if she cannot get herself organized enough to apply to school, how will she be able to function as an almost-adult when she is there?
The next several months will be crucial in helping her start to function as an adult and learning how to do several tasks which she takes for granted living at home. The obvious things like laundry and cooking, learning how to budget and purchase groceries are the easy ones. More difficult tasks include time management, banking skills, prescription refills, preparing for job interviews, making travel arrangements and all of the paperwork that comes along with being an adult. Saving receipts, learning a system to organize oneself and paying bills on time. Listening to your body when it’s tired, learning to fuel it nutritiously and taking care of yourself when feeling sick is another skill that needs to be learned. I remember the first time I had a medical issue when I lived away from home—I looked up a walk-in clinic (via The Yellow Pages) and drove nearly an hour to get to it. It didn’t even occur to me that there were probably dozens close by.
While I have so many feelings about her moving on to university, in the short term, I know I still have some parenting to do. Preparing her to live as an adult is still going to be a work-in-progress. Helping her prepare and fill out her University applications is just one tick on a long list of to-dos coming up.