Listen to parents on how they see their child as a young adult and a student and how they evaluate the financial challenges of paying college tuition. Listen to the student’s ideas about what they think college should be, the environment they seek in college, what they liked about high school, what they didn’t.
What do you think college is? Do you have goals for employment or graduate school? What kind of people do you want to be with in college? Are you singularly focused on academics or do you want a balanced experience of academics, sports, music and clubs? Are there things you need to be in close proximity to like cities, good health care, internships, a faith community, mountains or the ocean? Do you want to be a campus leader or blend into a larger community?
Suggest colleges, prepare for visits, go over interview tips, suggest more colleges, talk about the need to create a balanced list that will ensure some admits, do an inventory of essay ideas, discuss essay drafts, keep on task, encourage when spirits droop, discuss more drafts and brainstorm about application supplements, go over the application, and wait.
At every step, remind the student to believe in how good they are and how amazing college can be no matter where they end up.