How involved should I be with my kid’s college applications?

How involved should you be in your teenager's college application process? Well, let's talk
about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family
therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families to live happier lives. I lead
two organizations, Teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit 501c3 organization, Child and Teen
Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump onto
Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. My daughter just
started her senior year and she's done almost nothing yet about applying to college. I know
she intends to go next year and she has some schools in mind, but she's done very little research
and hasn't begun applying. I'm trying to let her be a grownup and figure it out, but I feel like
she's heading toward a cliff. How involved should I get? Well, thank you for your question.
Again, I think a lot of parents can relate to this one. And so my first

question to you is, is she really heading toward a cliff? As parents, we really want our kids
to thrive and succeed, and we have a vision, and when kids don't follow that vision, it can be
really scary. And my question is, is it really a cliff or is it a sidestep? Is it an alternative?
Is she possibly telling herself and you unconsciously that she's just not ready to pick up,
go half across country and go live in a dorm somewhere. Maybe after high school she needs kind
of a softer ramp going forward, which is fine. A lot of kids do this and they succeed very well
with this. Does she need to stay home, take a year off, you know, get a retail job, start exploring
her love of ceramics, you know, travel a little bit just to get her her bearings and just get settled
and grounded? Is she gonna be more comfortable going to community college for a year or two?
And I know some of you are gasping and clutching your pearls but no one cares where you take History
Western Civilization 110B. No one,

it doesn't matter. All it matters is where you got your degree from. No one cares where you do
GE from. So, if she does go to a community college, that may be a much less stress, social stress,
scholastic stress, it may be a lot less stress for her to kind of pick herself back up after the
rigors of high school. And high school can be really rigorous, sometimes even more than college.
So, I think it's important you talk to your daughter. But what does she want? You know, the deadlines
are coming up, she hasn't done much research, she hasn't done any applying. Check in, hey, are
you okay with that? You know, do you want our help? And if you don't wind up applying, are you okay
with some of these alternatives? Whether, you know, taking a gap year, going to community college,
traveling, getting a job, whatever those options are. And talking to her about what does she
want, empowering her to make her own choice. And if it's a choice she later on regrets, wonderful.
It's the first, probably

not the first, but it's one of many she will have throughout her life of making choices and learning
from that experience without shame, without scolding, you know, with just a sense of, hey,
whatever choice you make, we're here for you. We love you. And we trust that you will get through
this even if there are bumps, because bumps happen. We all go through bumps. We all make choices
later on and go, oh, I wish I had done something differently. And yet we've rebounded and survived.
So, I think it's important to create that space for her, even if this is a decision she wishes
she could take back, that she can learn the resiliency of rebounding and making new choices
that help her become the best person that she can be. Anyways, that's our question for today.
Thank you again for your questions. We love your questions. If you have a question you'd like
me to answer here on Tips on Teens, email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com, or you
can direct messages right here on Facebook or

Instagram. We love your questions. Again, my name is Kent Toussaint with Teen Therapy Center
and Child and Teen Counseling, and I'll see you guys all next week. Bye -bye.


If you’re panicking about your child’s college application process, it might help to take a step backwards and examine your own expectations. If your kid is struggling to apply to colleges, it might be a sign that they’re just not ready. This is likely to cause some parents to panic.


We urge parents to remember that the traditional path of graduating high school and immediately enrolling in a four-year college isn’t the only route to success. Some teens might benefit from a softer transition. This could include taking a gap year, getting a job or exploring personal interests. Attending community college first is a less stressful option that offers a chance for your teen to recover from the rigors of high school while still progressing academically. Remember, it’s the degree that matters, not where the general education credits were earned.

There’s a bunch more to say about it and we get into in this Tips on Teens:

“My daughter just started her senior year and she’s done almost nothing yet about applying to college. I know she intends to go next year and she has some schools in mind, but she’s done very little research and hasn’t begun applying. I’m trying to let her be a grown up and figure it out, but I feel like she’s heading toward a cliff. How involved should I get?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here –

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.