As school buses start rolling down the street, we know that the new school year has begun. Whether your child is an 8th grader or a 12th grader, making the right decision that serves as the best fit for your child’s dreams is important.
As a first-generation immigrant, I learned that I didn’t understand the process of securing admission to American universities. That’s why my partner and I established UCEazy, because even though we had successful careers as immigrants, we struggled with understanding how to best prepare our children for college. While navigating the college admission process for my own children, I realized that top tier colleges are looking for special and unique students. However, the parenting style of most Indian-American parents is counter to what is needed to create a unique student.
In this context, uniqueness is defined as:
. Are they independent thinkers?
. Do they think outside the box?
It can be said that most Indian-American parents don’t follow this line of thinking. They seek compliance from their children, rather than allowing them to make their own decisions. To create the unique child that colleges are looking for, you need to consider the following:
. Let go of your fear about the future—we left our country and family behind and sacrificed a lot. Our children will never be without basic needs like food, clothing or shelter. With this kind of security, why should the child not dream big? If these kids don’t, then who can? So, allow them to take risks to follow their path and do whatever they want. Take their shackles off, let them try. We know they will not starve.
. Expand their horizons—Think beyond the careers that brought you professional and material success. Why can’t your child start the next Google or become a Supreme Court Justice or dare I say, even the President of United States? If you want your child to dream big, you need to dream big as well.
. Being quirky is good—Allow your child to think differently. Many of the famous explorers and entrepreneurs are quirky, and that’s okay. Allow them to create their own path as opposed to following the well worn beaten track.
. Let them make their own decisions—You need to learn to let go. Shift accountability for many decisions to them. Let them experiment and fail and learn from their failures.
Top tier colleges are looking for special and unique students. However, the parenting style of most Indian American parents is counter to what is needed to create a unique student.
We founded UCEazy to capitalize on our life lessons as first generation Indian Americans and to help level the playing field for other recent immigrants. This includes counseling programs to ensure success in high school where we aim to reduce stress for the student and the parents. Through counseling, we have met parents who have successfully supported their children as they made unusual career and educational choices.
One student wanted to pursue a career in creative writing. The parents supported her as she established herself in Los Angeles as a script writer for television shows. She ended up writing scripts for many successful shows like Scorpion and New Girl.
Another student loves music and her parents have agreed to her only applying to music colleges. Given the phrase, “starving musicians,” this decision obviously requires a lot of courage from the parents and the child.
She is now building her credentials through composing songs and distributing them through social media.
Indian-American parents struggle to help their children with the high school journey and/or college admissions process. They try and apply the same lessons learned from their own experiences in India. In America, parents cannot be passive partners in the high school journey of their children. UCEazy will offer its members a series of free parental educational webinars to provide insight into the American High School journey. I encourage you to become an active participant in your child’s high school journey; allow us to show you the way.
I encourage you to take fear away from your children and you should not be fearful for their future. Dreams come alive when you are not afraid.
About UCEazy: The UCEazy mission is to simplify the college admissions process for first and second generation immigrant families by providing easy access to top-quality admissions experts and resources with several affordable pricing options. UCEazy provides private counseling, tutors and coaches to prepare students—from 8th grade through 12th grade—and their families as they prepare to take the next step to the college of their dreams.
Please visit www.UCEazy.com to learn more.
Vinnie Gupta is Co-Founder of UCEazy, a company with a mission to help first generation immigrant families with college admissions. He has been featured in national media like San Jose Mercury News, USA Today and Washington Times.