College Admissions is Claiming Work Time. Here's How to Get It Back

college admissions benefits

Right about now, the class of 2019 is packing up their milk crates and XL twin sheets and heading off to freshman orientation (congrats, kids!).

This month also marks the start of application season (welcome back, Common App!) for the class of 2020.

Admissions season is dead! Long live college admissions season!

College Admissions - the Big Worry on Every Parent's Mind

The reality is that college admissions are like painting the Golden Gate bridge; you get to the end and it's time to start all over again. And that means that every minute of every day of every year, somewhere, somebody at your organization is worried about where their child will apply to college, whether they'll get in, and how they'll pay for it.

It's the reason college advisors (people who can authoritatively answer admissions questions because they've worked as admissions officers themselves) have shown up on parents' radars. In a process without control, people are hungry for help. It's true, employees might find those services themselves. But think of the benefits if you provide it for them:

Financial wellness

Here's what employees are thinking about: what's the best school my child can get into? Here's what they should be thinking about: what's the best school my child can get into that we can afford? Unfortunately, nobody's advising people to think that way. So they're over borrowing, over paying, and leveraging 401ks to finance it. Those decisions will ripple for decades.

Benefit equity

Parenting doesn't stop when child care does. But for many employees, it might feel like it does since benefits often don't extend to parents with older children. That's a big miss since those are your valuable mid-career employees. "It's the coolest thing for individuals like myself who have older kids to see their employers not just work on maternity, paternity and adoption benefits," one mom told Working Mother about her company's provision of college advice. "When I see my employer committed to following you as you age, it makes me feel more committed to the company."

Productivity

Think money problems steal time? Try DIY college admissions. One mom called it "like being pregnant for two years." She was thrilled to have help for her third offspring. "My child's college applications are a full-time job," she told us, "And I already have one."

Braggability

Check this out: $4,000 a day for a college-admissions boot camp. Imagine consulting with the same type of college experts - only for free - and all you have to do as an employer is give employees access to the site. As American Express told us, "It's really high value, low effort, and incredibly appreciated."

The whole process is no doubt foreign to parents who used ye olde "close your eyes and point to a place on the map" for their own applications. Still many (a little sheepishly) told us they're spending as many as 10 hours a week at work on their kids' applications. And that doesn't even include the grand finale - waiting for the fat envelope.

"Let's just say," said the above mom who enlisted neighbors to peek into her mailbox at decision time, "stalking mailmen was on top of my list for quite some time."

Written by: Lisa Oppenheimer

August 21, 2019

About the Author

Lisa Oppenheimer at Bright Horizons

As Director, Brand Storytelling at Bright Horizons, Lisa writes “from the trenches” about the real life challenges of people in today’s workplaces: from the tensions of being a working mother, to working with millennials in the digital age, and everything in between. With a career ranging from freelance to full-time, Lisa brings a diverse employment background to her perspective.