So You're a Parent?

How to Keep Your College-Bound Teen Safe While Applying for College

Keep your child safe at college
Alison Stanton
Written by Alison Stanton

As a mom, it’s probably a bit hard to believe your baby is now a senior in high school and is getting ready to head off to college. It probably just seems like yesterday when you were helping him or her learn to walk, read, and ride a bike.

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As a mom, it’s probably a bit hard to believe your baby is now a senior in high school and is getting ready to head off to college. It probably just seems like yesterday when you were helping him or her learn to walk, read, and ride a bike.


If your teen is ambitiously tackling the task of filling out college applications and is willing to do most of the work alone, you might appreciate your child’s can-do attitude. But just like you watched from the driveway while your son or daughter walked down the street to a friend’s house, you should remain available during the college application process. This is especially true as your teen starts applying for scholarships online; while there are plenty of legitimate offers out there, there are also others that can and should raise some red flags. The following tips can help keep your high school senior’s identity as safe as possible during college scholarship application season:

Be wary about scholarship scams

While you are pleased and proud your teen is applying for numerous scholarships that will be used to pay for as many college expenses as possible, it’s wise to monitor what your child is doing. As FastWeb notes, there are plenty of scam artists who will promise college-bound teens money that never materializes. For example, applying for a college scholarship should never cost money; if your teen tells you about a site that is asking for a credit card number to apply, tell him or her to run for the proverbial hills.

Safeguard social security numbers

Before your teen sits down to start Googling college scholarships, take some time and explain the importance of keeping social security numbers as safe and private as possible. If an application asks for it, your teen should come to you for help. As the Better Business Bureau notes, college applicants should be very wary about sharing a social security number with unknown websites or scholarship companies. You and your teen can also research college or scholarship programs through the BBB to see if they are legitimate.

Make sure the website looks legit

As your teen searches the Web looking for scholarships and college info, advise your child to follow his or her gut and steer clear of any sites that don’t look professional. As Scholarship Experts notes, reputable scholarship programs are usually hosted through a scholarship management system. If the site contains a ton of pop up ads, misspelled words, old info or just basically looks unprofessional, your teen should click the “X” button and move on as soon as possible. Reputable scholarship programs and websites should also have eligibility information and any rules clearly spelled out, as well as the deadline date.

Sign your teen up with LifeLock

As LifeLock notes, children can actually be great targets for identity thieves because they typically don’t have a credit history that will be monitored on a regular basis. In addition, as your teen begins to apply to colleges and for scholarships online, he or she will be sending a lot of sensitive data over the internet. In order to protect your industrious teen against identity theft, consider signing up with LifeLock; the service will monitor your child’s personal information and data and let him or her know when it’s being used for nefarious reasons.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

I’ve accepted that for the foreseeable future, I will probably never have a home that will be featured in a Martha Stewart magazine—with kids, a hubby and 5 pets we have a lot of “stuff” in our home. I’m still working on accepting that my kids are getting older and some day they will move out….which means maybe I will get a shot at that Martha Stewart photo shoot one day!

What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I have learned to appreciate that I’m a good friend to people and that I’m always there for them when I need them. I think I’m still working on appreciating how stepping on Legos at 2 a.m. in bare feet just means you have happy kids in the home who enjoy playing with their toys.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

My most rewarding achievement by far is being a mom. My two sons make me so proud and I love being with them. As for goals and dreams, I would love to rent an RV one day and drive around the country with my family.

We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

My main imperfection that comes to mind is that I’m not great at getting enough rest. I have one son who is an early bird and one who is a night owl and so to spend time with each of them I’m typically up early and up late.

“I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!)

Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?

A dear friend of mine once told me “You should never say anything about yourself that you wouldn’t say to a best friend or your mom.” I really took this to heart and strive to avoid all negative self-talk, even when said in jest.  I love my positive self-talk!

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About the author

Alison Stanton

Alison Stanton

Alison Stanton has been a freelance writer for the past 14 years. Based in the Phoenix, Arizona area, Alison enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics, but especially loves meeting interesting people and telling their stories.

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