The College Application Season is Almost Here: Are Your Employees Ready?

The following guest post comes from Elyse Krantz, College Coach admissions educator and former senior admissions officer at Barnard College and Bennington College. 

For working parents with rising high school seniors, life is about to get a little more hectic than usual. Why? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 2.2 million high school graduates will enroll in college next fall. That's 2.2 million students who will suddenly be turning to mom and dad for advice on completing college applications and editing application essays. While much of the college admissions hype occurs in the fall and winter (many schools post deadlines in November and January), working parents may not realize that summer is the ideal time to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

The Common Application: One-Stop Shopping

Have you ever heard of the Common Application? While it wasn't tremendously popular when I was applying to college 16 years ago, the Common App has quickly become the way to apply to college. With over 500 colleges in 47 states (plus Washington D.C.) accepting the Common App, families will save time and avoid stress and headaches by using this "one-size-fits-all" document.

You might be surprised by the range of colleges that have joined the Common App membership. Private colleges, public colleges, selective colleges, large colleges, tiny colleges, historically Black colleges, Hispanic-serving colleges, business colleges, and technology colleges are all represented by the Common App. And did you know that nearly 80 percent of students apply to three or more colleges? Imagine how much easier it will be for students (and their stressed out parents!) to complete a single online form, rather than three or four individual ones.

Seize the Day: August 1, 2014

Beginning August 1, students and parents can access the 2014-15 Common Application. The application requires personal and academic information, test scores, activities, and personal essays. Many schools also require a supplement (occasionally with additional essays) which allows students to personalize their application and demonstrate interest in the school. Over 754,000 students submitted 3.3 million applications through the Common Application last year. And on what day do you think nearly 155,000 applications were submitted (the most ever in one day)? December 31, 2013 the day before many schools' January 1 deadlines. There is no reason for families to wait on completing the Common Application until the fall (or winter!). As summer tends to be a less stressful time for working parents, I encourage the employees I work with to choose a date this month to sit down as a family and fill out the Common App forms. The main components of the application can be completed quickly if given the proper attention, and the summer is an ideal time to begin brainstorming the personal statement.

Crafting the College Essay

It should come as no surprise that strong, thoughtful essays are best written when the student is relaxed not hurrying from school to sports practice, or writing between dinner and homework. If students begin brainstorming and drafting their essays this summer, they may even have a chance to enjoy the writing process. Employees with access to the College Coach benefit receive the opportunity to have former college admissions officers review and provide critical feedback on students' application essays. Imagine how reassured parents feel knowing that a former Georgetown, MIT, or Yale admissions officer has just signed off on their child's essay! Last year, the College Coach team evaluated over 4,700 essays and resumes. This year, we expect that number to be even higher.

Improved Family Dynamics, Happier Employees

Working parents want what's best for their children. And for employees with college-bound students, "what's best" can mean different things. Some parents need advice on identifying appropriate college options, while some need help on managing their resources and paying for college. Some parents struggle to be on the "same page" with their child during the process. College Coach expert advisors can help with all of those worries and concerns. The college application process doesn't have to be stressful. By taking advantage of the remaining summer to plan, organize, and prepare for the upcoming application season, students and parents can turn a hectic year into a happy one. And when mom and dad feel confident that their child is on the right path, it becomes that much easier for them to be focused and productive at work.  

Learn more about the College Coach employee benefit and why it's a win-win for families and employers.