#109 – Encore Episode – The College Decision Dilemma: What Happens Once Those Admission Letters Arrive?

The college admission process begins earlier and earlier and sometimes seems to go on forever. When those highly anticipated acceptance letters begin to arrive, the process enters a new phase. The ball is now in your student’s court to make a decision. What is your role as a parent at this stage? In this episode Vicki and Lynn unpack some of the emotions and practical steps you and your student can take as your student looks for the school with the best ”fit,” perhaps moves to their second choice of school, or copes with being on a Waitlist. As your student makes this final decision, everyone’s roles begin to shift.

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Why College Parenting Begins in High School

Thinking about and preparing for college begin earlier and earlier for most students. There are countless books, websites, programs, lectures and consulting services offered to help students as they begin their college preparation and admission journey. These services help students decide what high school classes to take, how to prepare for the SAT or ACT, how to select colleges and conduct college visits, how to finance an education and acquire loans. There are lists and lists and lists available telling them what to bring to college and how to furnish the ultimate dorm room.

The journey to becoming a college parent can be more mysterious. Many of us guide and support our student through the admission process, and we assume we’ll become a college parent once we drop our student off at Move-in Day. But if we wait until our student begins college to begin “college parenting,” we’re late to the game.

It’s a natural misunderstanding. Much of the focus during high school is on getting into college. However, your focus on “college parenting” includes helping your student focus on preparing to thrive in college in addition to getting into college.

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Technology Questions Your Student Should Ask During the Admission Process

We are all increasingly dependent on our technology both for our personal lives and to get our jobs done. College students are no different. Much of students’ academic and social lives will be spent online – whether in class, preparing for class, or connecting with others.

As your student goes through the admission process and narrows down their choice of colleges, it’s important to ask questions that will help them evaluate the school’s technology as part of their decision-making about the school.

But how much does your student need to know? If your student is going to consider technology as a factor in evaluating a college, the answer is there’s a lot to know. You can help your student think about what matters to them and what questions will give them the answers that will help.

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College Parents and Students: We Hope and We Worry

We all know we have hopes for our students, and we certainly worry about them in many ways. Our students have their own worries, and their hopes. But we may wonder how what we worry about and what we hope for match what other parents and students are thinking. Are our dreams and concerns totally unique?  Of course, there’s no way of knowing all of the things others dream or worry about, but when it comes to colleges, and especially getting into colleges, we do have some insight.

Each year the Princeton Review conducts a survey of students and parents to explore what we are all thinking about college. They call it the “College Hopes and Worries Survey.”

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What Is Direct Admission to College?

Your student wants to apply to college. Or maybe your student is thinking about college and wondering whether they will be admitted anywhere. They’re not sure about anything, but they go ahead and fill out the Common Application “just in case.” It’s a good plan.

Then, seemingly out of the blue, one day an email arrives. “Dear _____, We want to let you know that if you apply to our school, you’ll be admitted.”

Wait, what? Your student hasn’t even applied yet. How can they know they’ll be admitted?

Suddenly, they have more confidence. They know they’ll get in somewhere, even if it isn’t their first choice of school. (But maybe it is!) They’ll apply where they know they’ll get in – but they may now also have the confidence to apply to other schools as well. They know they’re college material.

Sound impossible? Sound like fantasy? How could this be?

It’s not fantasy. It’s called Direct Admission.

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26 Admission Questions You May Not Have Thought Of

The college admission process is long and it is often complex. An important part of that process is visiting the colleges on your student’s list. But college visits are about so much more than just showing up.

A good college visit involves doing your homework before you go, listening between the lines to the admission presentation, and knowing what questions to ask to gather just the information you need. As intimidating as this may sound at first, college visits can be one of the fun aspects of this intense process.

The questions you ask (or even better, your student asks) are often fairly standard. How large are classes? Can students have a car? What are the popular majors? What is the graduation rate? These are important pieces of information, and you should ask all of the questions that are on your mind. But standard questions usually yield standard answers, not necessarily the information that will help your student judge whether this is the place they want to spend the next four years.

To get started, be sure to read our article on preparing for and making the most of an admission visit.

Student to student

As most students try to evaluate the colleges on their list, what they really want to know is whether this school is the place that they will feel comfortable and at home. Will it provide the experiences that they need to reach their goals? Will they find their people and be able to experience the life they want to live? This may be harder to determine with standard answers.

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Take a Non-Tour Campus Tour

One important part of the college admission process is visiting campuses to get a real feel for the schools on your student’s list.

Some students are anxious to get started on this stage of the process and others may drag their feet – in some cases because they are nervous. It may make sense to start by visiting a school or two that aren’t on your student’s list of favorites so you can all get comfortable with the format and process, but eventually you get to those all-important visits to colleges on your student’s short list.

Most campus tours are fairly standard. Admission counselors make a short presentation followed by a student led tour around the campus. The tour usually includes key buildings such as the student center, dining services, performance space, classrooms, science labs, library, a typical dorm, and any showplaces at that particular college.

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Your Student’s Senior Year of High School Should Be Hard

Senior year of high school. Your student is almost at the finish line! Well, actually, your student has almost arrived at the starting line — of college. It all depends on how you look at it.

Senior year of high school is definitely a milestone, and it’s natural — and appropriate — to feel pride and satisfaction and a sense of completion. It’s worth celebrating.

But one of the most common mistakes that high school seniors make is to see this year an easy year, a year to slide through, and a year that doesn’t count. Senioritis sets in — sometimes early in the year.

It’s important to talk to your senior or rising senior about how they can, and should, make this a year that matters. Talk about why this year is important in the larger scheme of things, about setting goals and meeting challenges, about thinking ahead to preparing for and succeeding in college — not just about getting into college.

Why does senior year matter?

Much of junior year is about looking at colleges, taking SAT and/or ACT tests and completing many required courses. The beginning of senior year is about putting together the college list and completing applications. The middle of senior year is about waiting for admission and then making final decisions. And then, finally, admission done, decision made, it’s all over.

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Moving From Graduation Season into Summer

If you have a high school or college senior, both you and your student are most likely focused on the finish line — graduation! Your student has worked hard to get here, it’s been a long time coming, and this last year has probably be especially trying for everyone.

First, there may still be a few weeks remaining of that all-important final year. Help your student stay focused and help them ride the many emotions they may be feeling. Be sure to attend to the details that may be necessary to wrap things up and prepare for that final event.

Second, enjoy the occasion. It will probably look different this year than you imagined a few years ago, but the milestone is just as momentous. Relax (easier said than done), smile a lot (even if it’s still behind a mask), and share in your student’s excitement (and maybe a little trepidation as well.)

Then, once all of the festivities are over, it’s time to change focus and begin to ease into summer and begin to anticipate what’s next.  It’s a time of transition and change for everyone — whether your student is leaving high school to head to college or the workforce, or whether they are heading to college. It’s time for the next step — for both your student and for you.

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#019 – Students With Learning Differences: What Are the Key Changes Between High School and College?

What colleges and universities do to support students with learning differences changes from K-12, not only because the laws are different but also because the goals for students shift in college. These changes may be bigger than most students and parents expect. In today’s podcast, Lynn and Vicki explore differences in how the laws protect students and how the key responsibilities of both the institution and the student change. The more you understand these differences, the more comfortable you and your student will be, and the better you will be able to support your student in transition.

Subscribe to our podcast: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn Radio

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