What you need to know about coaching for college searches

By Susan Pohorski

According to National Public Radio, parents are paying “executive function coaches” up to $6,000 to help their high school students get organized and become more successful in school and ready for college. Isn't this something parents should be doing? There are four areas of focus you can encourage your child to take to prepare for college-level course work and the higher education search process.

Photo of a mom coaching her daughter

Organization – A key skill in school, work and life is being organized. Keeping track of necessary documents, tasks and tools will help your child succeed in college and in the workplace. Create a space for him or her to do homework and gather information about higher education options. This includes establishing files for important documents, both paper and electronic.

Time Management – Your child should be able to follow their daily class schedule, keep track of assignment due dates, extra curricular activities and family events. Does he or she have a planner, datebook or electronic calendar on their cell phone? Some high schools provide planners to students. Make a regular appointment with your son or daughter on the weekend to go through the coming week and discuss upcoming tasks and assignments. If a project is due in two weeks, break it down into segments or steps and assign a deadline for each one and teach them to anticipate other assignments or exams popping up. Establish a timeline for entrance exams, college applications and financial aid applications. You might want to set up regular times each week for working on college stuff. Make a timeline of dates for the college application process.

Research skills – Hopefully, your child is learning to do research for schoolwork. The Internet is such a big help with any type of research. You can help by identifying questions necessary for the college search process. What information is important to know? What are the criteria for making the higher education decision? Help your child identify their interests and possible career choices before they start comparing colleges. If he or she has a vague notion of their dream job, suggest some research on that field to find out what is involved and what preparation is required.

Self-management skills – How is she doing in school? Ask your student to assess her efforts and productivity. Identify areas for improvement and set goals. Does he think his math skills could use some more work? Maybe he needs a tutor. Does she think her note taking sucks? Perhaps some online resources could help. If your child seems stressed, identify some stress reducing activities or figure out what pursuits he could drop from his schedule.

Your child’s school counselor can be a great source of information. Consult with counselors and teachers on specific ways to coach your student. One of the most important things you can do to prepare your children for higher education is encourage them. Praise their efforts, express confidence in their abilities and celebrate their accomplishments.

Coach your child on these suggestions and you will see confidence in his or her abilities. Working on these areas will also reduce the stress of figuring out the future for you and your child and will train them for post high school success.