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Three Ways Your Grandkids Can Gain Acceptance to the College of Their Dreams…Without Cheating

Three Ways Your Grandkids Can Gain Acceptance to the College of Their Dreams…Without Cheating

By Frances Kweller, founder of Kweller Prep

For some students, applying to college is the most high-pressure situation they’ve experienced thus far. There is undeniable pressure to attend a top-tier university––not only do students feel this, but parents and family members too. Unfortunately, some people crack under this pressure and resort to unethical practices in order to achieve their goals. The recent college admission scandal is an example of individuals taking advantage of the system to gain access to their dream schools. This is by no means common, nor acceptable.

There are several ways students can gain acceptance to their dream schools without exploiting the college admissions process. Here are three ways:

  1. Plan Ahead

Most students do not start considering their options for college until their upperclassman years. However, there are many benefits to considering this much earlier so you can model your high school curriculum accordingly. This means taking the course work that aligns with your anticipated major, gaining experience through internships and community service and most importantly, taking the appropriate exams. Building your extracurriculars is also important; dedicating yourself to clubs and teams early on in your high school career shows admissions officers dedication and discipline.

  1. Prepare for Exams

Once you are familiar with what exams you need to take its important that you prepare

for them months in advance. You must make a plan for yourself and execute it.  For example, maybe you decide you can spare 3 hours after school every other day to study for exams. You must structure that time wisely, making sure to use all of your resources to the fullest and mimicking a true testing environment. If you have the financial resources, you should look into attending test prep classes for your standardized exams.

  1. Spend Time on College Applications

After you’ve gained the credits and taken the required exams needed, you will have to submit your applications. It is essential that you start your essays and supplements way ahead of time. If you think it’ll take you three months, give yourself six. You should take time to research different programs, write your essays and spend time elaborating on each one to fit each and every application specifically.

collegeAs a grandparent you find yourself reliving some of the most exciting, yet difficult, years of your life through your grandchildren. This includes the daunting college application process. Although the procedure has changed dramatically in recent decades, you still have a lot to offer to your high-school aged grandchild.

Q: What advice would Frances give to grandparents when it comes to their grandchild’s college selection?

First and foremost, your grandchild needs your support at this time. In order to provide that to the best of your ability, if you are unfamiliar with the procedures educate yourself on the college application process itself as well as the specific schools that your grandchild is considering. While you may not be familiar with or understand everything about how it all works, your grandchild will find it easier to communicate with you if you are on the same page.

Q: Should the grandparent weigh in with their opinions or stay out of the selection process and just be supportive of the parents?

The role of the grandparent really depends on the relationship they have with the grandchild. As with any important decision, it is usually very helpful for the student to talk with people they trust and are close with in order to realize their priorities and goals. I would say to bring up the subject and go from there: if your grandchild seems receptive, continue the dialogue and chat with them about it. No matter your relationship with your grandchild it’s important to remember this is their college experience––give advice and help them talk through their plans, but in a way that makes them feel like they are in control of their own next steps.

Q: What would be the first piece of advice a grandparent should offer?

The first piece of advice a grandparent should offer is to do your research! I’ve seen so many students experience extreme disappointment when the school they’ve been set on for years turns out to be different than what they expected. It is vital that students take time to research, plan and then VISIT schools they plan on applying to. This is something you can even do with them! Remind them to consider the academic and career opportunities, social landscape and off-campus aspects when making their choices.


Frances Kweller, Esq., is an attorney at law and lifelong educator. She was the first one in her immediate family to attend a top college, New York University – Steinhardt School of Education. She then went on to obtain her Juris Doctorate from Hofstra Law School.

Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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