Advice for parents of college applicants

Laura Stewart, Ensworth School

Laura Stewart, our March Counselor of the Month, had both a unique opportunity and challenge when she joined the college counseling program at Ensworth School, an independent college preparatory high school in Nashville, Tennessee. For 46 years -- since 1958 -- the school had served only elementary and middle school students. Then, in August, 2004, Ensworth added grades 9 through 12, opening the new 127-acre Devon Farm campus one month after Stewart joined the school as Assistant Director of College Counseling.

Over the next five years, Stewart rose to become Director of College Counseling -- in 2009, one year after Ensworth School graduated its first senior class. As a result, she has had the opportunity to participate in building a counseling program where there were no preconceived ideas. As Director, she has been able to establish policies and procedures that reflect a philosophy with her own creative stamp and then watch the program grow. "It's hard for me to imagine being anywhere else because I've been so fortunate to get to do what I want," says Stewart.

Parents: How to best help your teen navigate the college application process

Educational psychologist Jane McClure joins us this month to discuss how parents can help college-bound teens through the application process. Read on to find out how to become an advisor and advocate for your son or daughter, and avoid becoming a "nagging taskmaster."


Parents often ask me how they can help their son or daughter during the application process.  I am pleased to get this question because it indicates parents recognize there are some methods that are appropriate and helpful and others are not.  While each student is unique, here are some typical issues that parents should consider as they attempt to provide assistance.


  1.  It is important that students see their parents as advocates rather than as nagging task masters.  After all, this may be the last time that students live full-time at home, and you don’t want it to be fraught with fighting, nagging, slamming doors, ……well, you get the picture.