Accepting applications for 9th and 10th graders. Limited availability for 11th graders. Click here for more information.

Blunt advice for parents of college-bound teens

I don't think it's me (I never do) but this year has been CRAZIER than ever.

I'm not only referring to the kids we coach through the college application process: parents have gone bonkers too!

On the kid-side, we had in inordinate number of seniors making last minute, final revisions to their essays yesterday for November 1 deadlines...

Even though we started drafting them in July!

Re:  parents, I cannot begin to tell you how many "helped" their children by stepping in, pushing them aside and completely taking over the essay-writing process.  I see it every year, but I've never seen it this bad.

I'm not just griping.  There's an important point here, that's all-too-easy to get lost in the shuffle:  If you, parent, take over the college applications for your child, you are sending them an unsubtle message...

You can't do this yourself

Not exactly a confidence builder, right?

Trust me, I know how busy our children are, and I understand the impulse to help.  I have four kids (three in college).  But I -- and hope that you -- understand that if I help too much, I will actually stunt their growth and journey to become independent, productive, high functioning adults.

Isn't that our real job, as parents?  Helping them launch for success, in LIFE?

As opposed to bending -- or breaking -- rules to get into a certain Rear Window Sticker College, no matter what it takes.

What happens if our child actually happens to beat the odds and get into their/mom and dad's collective "Dream College?"   That outcome might much worse than getting rejected:  now they enter college feeling like a fraud.

Chances are, that's not where the insecurities end.

Back to the essays, it's pretty easy for your average admissions officer to spot one written by mommy, daddy or a hired college essay gun.  So those 18 drafts that culminated into 650 words of Pulitzer-esque prose might produce something other than what you were hoping:

An eye roll

OK, I'll stop now, I'm sure you get the point.  Our actions as parents can have longer-term consequences than the immediate "rescue job" we're hyper-focused on.

If you want to help your kiddo get their highest SAT and ACT scores possible, so that they can get into their top choice colleges and give themselves a shot at fat, juicy merit scholarship offers, one thing you should consider is getting a jump on prepping for the "right test."

We offer a wicked-cheap diagnostic exam to help figure out which test is best -- it's  50% SAT, 50% ACT, 110% fun!

OK "fun" is a bit of artistic license, but the diagnostic is a huge time saver.  Check out our test prep site,, it's at the top of the page.


-Andy Lockwood


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.