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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Readmitted to College! Now What?

More and more students right now are taking a break from college. Some need a semester off and others need more time. Some choose to leave school and others may be academically dismissed or suspended, most often because they were overwhelmed or unprepared rather than for lack of ability.

If your student is dismissed from college, it can be a traumatic event for both your student and you. Deciding what to do and finding the way back can be a complex but often fulfilling process. If your student is newly dismissed, we have several articles that may help you and your student find your way.

What to Do If Your Student Is Academically Dismissed from College

Academically Dismissed from College: Time for a Reset

Academically Dismissed from College? Ten Steps to Move On

This article begins where those articles left off.

Your student has taken some time off, has applied for readmission and has been accepted. Now what?

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Reflecting on the First Year of College

Your student made it through that often tumultuous first-year transition to college – perhaps smoothly or maybe with a few bumps and bruises along the way.

Next stop – sophomore year. But first, there’s work to be done.

It’s time for your student to reflect and make meaning of their first-year experiences, consider the lessons learned, and uncover the wisdom that can help them navigate the next three years.

New sources of information

Your student has grown. Their experiences have given them new sources of information about themselves and about college, but they may not yet have connected all of the dots. Now is the time for your student to consciously integrate this knowledge into their sense of who they are and how they can move forward deliberately and with a stronger sense of purpose.

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11 Reasons Your College Student May Call

Not all phone calls are the same.

We have so many ways to communicate with our college students these days that phone calls may be less frequent. According to Barbara Hofer, author of the book The iConnected Parent, parents and students communicate an average of 13.4 times per week — but that didn’t include texting! Many students and parents text each other anywhere from several times per day to once a week or so.

As long as both you and your student are comfortable and agree on the amount, occasional check-ins are good for all of us.

With the ease and immediacy of texting, phone calls (or Zoom, Facetime or Skype) with our students have become more rare. They take more effort and coordination and involve more extended conversations. But sometimes, there’s nothing like hearing the other person’s voice.

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How to Help Your Undecided Student Find Direction

This is Part 2 of our 2-part series on undecided students. Part 1 — Why Your Undecided Student May Be Drifting — discussed why your student may be having a difficult time deciding about a major. In this article we share some ways that parents can help their undecided student find direction.

There are many reasons for being undecided about a major. In our last article, we suggested that helping your undecided student find direction begins by helping them understand why they are undecided. You can help guide this process, but the deep work involved is your student’s work to do.

Being unsure about a major as you enter college might be the most appropriate course for many students, but it is important not to allow that uncertainty to become a drifting mentality.  Help your student formulate a plan to proactively investigate and narrow options and ultimately make at least a tentative choice.

A 7-step plan to help your student get started

Making a decision about a major — and possibly making it over again several times — can be so daunting that some undecided students begin to drift. They aimlessly move through each month or semester without making progress toward a choice because it is too difficult to know where to begin.

Help your student create a plan to guide their decision making.

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Why Your Undecided Student May be Drifting

Most traditional college students enter college when they are between 18-20 years old. Scientists tell us that at that age, young people’s brains are not yet fully formed — especially in the area of executive functioning.

Is it any wonder, then, that many students, (Virginia Gordon, in her book The Undecided College Student suggests close to 50% of them) are undecided about a major when they enter college? Or that approximately 75% of college students change their major at least once during their years in college, with the average student changing their mind three times?

It may not make sense to expect our college students to know at the outset what they want to do with their lives, but we do.

If your student is one of those many students who say they are undecided about a major, you may worry.  Your student worries, too. Will they ever find direction? Will they find it too late and not be able to complete college in a timely way? What if they never find the right career?  That’s a lot of anxiety.

Being unsure about a major as you enter college is OK — it might even be the most appropriate response.

What is not OK is to allow that uncertainty to become a drifting mentality.

How did we get here? Why do we (and students) worry about being ”undecided”?

”What do you want to be when you grow up?”

We ask our young children that question, and we get those cute responses. ”I want to be a ballet dancing doctor!” ”I want to be a gypsy!” ”I want to be an astronaut and a policeman!” At that age, it’s all about possibilities.

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Does Your College Student Have an Advisory Board?

Most college students crave independence. It’s what the teenage years are all about, and as students head off to college they have an opportunity to spread their wings and exercise that independence. It’s an important stage of development (although it’s sometimes a difficult time for parents.)

So what’s the problem?

For many students, the problem is that they feel that being independent means that they must do everything on their own. Asking for help or guidance means that they aren’t truly independent.

Of course, that isn’t true. We all need guidance. We all have times when we need to ask for help. Being independent means knowing when you need help, finding the people who can provide that help, and being brave enough to advocate for what you need.

This is why your student needs a personal advisory board.

What is a Personal Advisory Board?

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of any company rarely runs the company single-handedly. Most CEOs have a Board of Directors who advise them and help make the decisions that guide that company.

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10 Potential Pivot Points for Your College Student

The college years are a journey. As your student travels through these years, there will be moments of transition and turning points. Your student may need to pivot and change direction.

Sometimes these pivots may be prompted by a crisis — a time when a decision needs to be made that will determine future events. Sometimes the pivot may be more simply a modification — a slight shift, much as a basketball player might turn and change direction while still keeping one foot planted.

If your student needs to pivot, the shift may be of their own making — a decision to change something — or it may be a change that is unexpected or mandated. In either case, your student may take the shift in stride or may feel overwhelmed and unsettled.  You may need to help your student process what this pivot means.

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Your Student Needs This Time Over Winter Break

Winter Break. Most college students look forward to it — and they get increasingly impatient for it as the semester draws to a close. Students face deadlines they may have ignored, final papers, final projects, final exams, and a generally stressful few weeks as they finish up their term.

This year, the stress has increased as they attempted to do their work in masked and distanced classrooms, in hybrid settings or fully remote — either from home or from dorm rooms. It’s been a difficult semester for everyone.

Winter Break

This year, as we enter what many are telling us will be the darkest and most difficult winter we’ve faced, students may be anticipating Break more than ever. Students don’t want this Break, they need this Break. But Winter Break will not be business as usual this year. There may be minimal travel, fewer events, smaller family gatherings, less socializing, and students may have more time on their hands. This has been a year like no other, and it promises to be a Winter Break unlike anything we’ve known.

Whether your student is finally coming home or has been home all along, the next few weeks may prove challenging for everyone. But wherever you are and whatever your circumstances, most students need one thing as this semester draws to a close: time.

Not all time is the same

Your student may be home longer this winter, as many colleges end earlier than usual and many  delay the start of spring semester. But no matter how long your student’s break from college, not all of their time should be the same. Students need different types of time to help them recharge from this ”semester -like-no-other” and to prepare to move forward.

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Whether Your College Student Is On Campus or Home: 20 Ideas for a Successful Semester

This semester looks different at almost every college in the nation. As each school attempts to find ways to educate their students in the midst of a pandemic, there are students studying fully on campus, fully at home, studying in hybrid modes and just about everything in between. Some schools are already well into their semester, some haven’t yet begun their year yet, and many have had to pivot from their original plans.

All of this means that your student has already had to adapt and adjust to new ways of doing college. Whether your student is a brand-new first-year student or a veteran sophomore, junior or senior, the approach to college this year is a first for everyone.

As a parent, you worry first about whether your student will remain healthy, but you may also worry about how your student will fare with all of these new ways of learning. We all want our students to succeed.

If your student is studying remotely this semester, they don’t have access to the usual on-campus ways of finding support and contacting professors. But even those students who are on campus may find restricted in-person contact with services and faculty.

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