Parent To Parent

This one is for the parents out there! We know that behind every intelligent, compassionate, and accomplished college applicant are the parents, guardians, and family members who have been their influencers, cheerleaders, and advocates from the start. As we head into the home stretch of college application season, we’re sharing some words of wisdom, encouragement, and commiseration from five parents of current Olin students who have been through it all before.

We also invite you to reach out to an Olin parent about their family’s experience. Enjoy!


"Our daughter's number one goal was to prevent the dinner table conversation that ended up in a nagging session."

By Victoria (Berkeley, CA)

Such a short time but feels eternal: college applications, uncertainty, family stress. This is the first adult decision our children make, which is great and daunting. Our daughter's number one goal was to prevent the dinner table conversation that ended up in a nagging session. Our goal was to support her and maintain our parent-teenager relationship during the uncertain time of college applications/decisions. We made a collective agreement: only talk about college one time per week (definitely broke that rule at times..), and we mounted a whiteboard in our dining room with "to-do" items. It served as a silent visual tool. Please know there is light at the end of the tunnel! Olin is such a great fit: It has been a supportive, exciting learning environment, and the staff, professors and students are amazing!

Three people and a dog hiking in front of a scenic overlook.


Twice the application fun with twin sons

By Kunle (Lagos, Nigeria)

As an overseas parent with little knowledge of the US education system other than a handful of college tours during previous summer vacations in the US, it appeared that the college application process would be a daunting task for my twin sons who had just begun to settle down into the rigours of a post-graduate year in a Massachusetts boarding school. With the help of their high school's college counselors and our weekly application review Zoom sessions, the boys got accepted into their top-choice colleges and literally ended up on the same campus (Olin and Babson). So just try to help your student begin the college search early and remain focused on the goal through this truly roller coaster journey to college...

A family of four on a college campus.

Cookies and bad music to help the process along

By Tammy (Columbia, MD)

A guiding principle of mine as a parent has been to allow space for my kids to make inconsequential mistakes while trying to guide them away from the consequential ones. The college application process seems incredibly consequential, and yet it is only a part of the journey. What I have come to learn, through watching two college applicants move toward the next exciting step in their lives, is that they know themselves really well. They don't need me to tell them about who they are. I can help coach about the process, and nudge (perhaps some days more assertively than others) and make cookies and play bad music, but in the end, I trust them to land in places that will help them find their paths and their people.

Two people and a small dog sitting on a couch low to the ground.


"I began to feel that 'No Decision' was an attractive option."

By Zoe (Durham, NC)

Exhausted by the endless uncertainty of college applications? My college application process in the UK, centuries ago, could have been done sleepwalking. Coming to the USA I didn’t know an SAT from an ACT. Early or Late Decision, anyone? I began to feel that "No Decision" was an attractive option. My son showed little interest in the process and just ploughed through his senior year workload. But then he discovered Olin. We visited. A light went on for us all and the gears started to engage. So don’t fret, let them lead, and your journey to college will be seamless.

A selfie of a family of four in a wooded outdoor area.


Step back and enjoy the ride

By Flo (Narragansett, RI)

As my daughter (okay, both of us) agonized over deadlines, essays, and decisions, it helped me to step back and celebrate her accomplishments. It seemed like I blinked and my little girl was now an amazing young adult headed to college. Being my second time on this ride, I knew I had to seize the opportunities as they presented themselves. I drove a little slower on our rides together, had her favorite dinner regularly, and binge-watched a few shows on snow days, knowing/hoping that the following year she would be doing these things with her new “family.” Olin is that and more!