- importance of early preparation (learning assessments, personality inventories, career counseling, course selection, extra curricular activities).
- obtaining merit scholarships and need-based financial aid
- tips for parents of the college-bound (special topics: prospective college athlete, home-schooled, learning disabled, and the high achieving student).
The college choice, in the end, must be your child's but parents do have an important role in the process. Certainly, financial considerations are often a primary concern but so is the "match" - knowing that your child has made a good choice based on his or her own needs, goals, and learning styles. The following are some suggestions to keep in mind as you explore the issues of college choice, admissions, and financing the costs of a college education.
- A visit to the colleges in which your child is interested is important. Your child may feel at home on some campuses and uncomfortable on others. Plan to accompany your son or daughter to as many schools as time, distance, and finances will allow.
- Encourage your child to start a file for safekeeping of all college information. Include in the file a chart of pertinent data for each college he or she is interested in attending: name of college, application deadline, application fee, standardized tests required, financial aid forms required, etc.
- Encourage your child to request applications in August and to begin working on the college essays.
- Make arrangements with your child for the checks to cover application fees (approximately $40 per college). Additionally, students need to cover testing fees.
- Check the deadlines for applications, financial aid forms, and housing. Housing applications (particularly for large state universities) may be due in the early fall, before other materials' deadlines.
- Remember that your child's courses (and grades) are the most important factor - not her SAT or ACT scores.
- The final choice needs to be your child's. A decision not owned is one likely to fail.
The college process can be a stressful time for loving parents. You want to do all that you can to help your child be successful in a process that demands that each student speak for himself or herself. It is not uncommon for students to experience a denial from a college or university. Parents can support their children and themselves by recognizing a denial for what it is: an indication from a college that the "present match" between the college and applicant is not a good one. Students who are not accepted at a particular college may very well earn the necessary grades to transfer later on - if they continue to want that school. A denial should be viewed as a challenge, not a rejection.
The college process is, for many teenagers, their first experience in decision-making, and students are often anxious and scared.
Be understanding of their moodiness and try to help them enjoy their college search process.
Remind them that there are many colleges that will match their needs and interests.
They will be accepted at an appropriate school provided they do the proper research.