A guest blog written by Cathy Copeland of FriendlyU
Over the past 12 months my family has decided on, applied for, been accepted to, and delivered our only child to college. It’s been a wild ride, but in hindsight was smoother than it felt while going through the process. The operative word here is process. The transition takes time, planning, and gathering a lot of information.
She was excited to look at websites and visit campuses, dreaming of her future self. What was missing in her college search was a way to talk candidly to students a couple of years ahead at colleges she was considering. There were tours with student guides, but they were big groups with embarrassing parents doing most of the talking. I will confess to being one of those parents.
Kids communicate with their phones and most of us accept the fact that they use social media sites for their day-to-day information. But there was no dedicated way for a high school student to find and private chat with a college student directly. That’s why FriendlyU was born.
At this point some of you may be pulling your child closer and thinking there’s no way you're letting your child talk to a beer-drinking frat boy unsupervised – time for a reality check. In a year or two, she’ll be at that frat party or in that college club. So, here’s my best advice to add to your family's list for college prep: Trust your child. Ultimately, they have to make the decisions and use their judgment. Let them have private, one-on-one conversations with older kids in the only venue where they can ask questions without an adult in earshot – questions that give them real answers. We know that kids won’t ask an adult about things like party culture, drug use, campus safety, LGBTQ acceptance, etc… but these answers are crucial to know if they have found the right fit.
Bravo to well-meaning parents for researching location and academics. Kudos for making the decision to engage college planning advisor Paul Hemphill to uncover your child's potential and guide the process. Complete the puzzle by encouraging your child to engage with their near peers for candid insight into what college life is really like. It’s crucial to their success and happiness, and shows that you believe is them. The best gift you can give is trust.
Cathy Copeland Titus Mom, Co-Founder, and CEO, FriendlyU ____________________ FriendlyU is a social app that lets high school students connect directly to college students with similar interests for candid conversation. Find students through college profiles, clubs, and academic interests.
My strategy has proven to give the student a far greater advantage in the admissions office because colleges place a premium on who you are, which is not easily recognized on a list of extracurricular activities, test scores, or application essays.
The greatest life-lesson your child will learn from working with me: Who you are will always triumph over what you know.