We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.  

Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)



College or University?

Many people use the terms “college” and “university” as synonyms.  However, while both refer to higher educational institutions, there is a difference. 

Merriam-Webster defines the terms:

College: an independent institution of higher learning offering a course of general studies leading to a bachelor's degree

University:  a school that offers courses leading to a degree (such as a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree) and where research is done

Most often, universities are made up of individual colleges from which students graduate, such as the College Engineering, College of Nursing, College of Education.  Generally, universities have a more diverse offering of classes and programs than a college because of the larger number of enrolled students.  Typically, universities also offer advanced degrees as well (master’s or doctoral), whereas colleges, cannot offer advanced degrees due to smaller enrollment.  

While the monikers of “college’ and “university” have some distinctions, there are a few situations where the lines are blurred, such as the College of William and Mary, which is very much a university by offering advanced degrees, but is a college in name. 

A college can also “grow” to become a University by expanding its offerings.  However, when Mt. Union College (OH) wanted to change its name to Mt. Union University, the strong voice of the alumni who didn’t want the name change won out and the name remains the same.

Is one better than the other?  No, absolutely not!

On many levels, they are academic equals.  It is what a school offers in terms of class offerings, majors, and activities that matters most.  Your student should strive to find a school that meets his or her needs best.  The experience, and what your student does with his/her time on campus, is what matters.  (Even more than the name on the diploma!)   


What do THEY want from a college?

Now is the time to listen...to your teen. You probably have lots of hopes and dreams for them in college and beyond. You certainly want to see them live a life of purpose - to see them thrive as an adult.

But now is the time to really hear what they are looking for. Ask them “What is that you are looking for in a college?

You surely want to hear - “quality academics, top rated programs, career opportunities.” But be prepared for - “I’d like to be with my friends, I want a lot of school spirit, great weather.”

Your job right now is to listen, (yep, just listen) understand the feelings and emotions behind their answers, and then introduce some additional qualities that they should consider as well. This may simply be the first of many conversations and discussions around their goals and hopes for their future.

TIP #1

End of the semester projects and reports can sneak up and sabotage a class grade if not completed in its entirety, up to the required specifications, or on time.  Encourage your student to start projects early and work steadily instead of waiting until the last minute.  

TIP #2

Final exams - not the best part of HS but really important for their grades.  This time of year can be crazy busy and hectic, help them set aside time for studying – sometimes alone and other times with a (productive) study group.  Be sure to ask them if they need any other support as this can be a stressful experience for some students.

Know of a school that could use additional support with college readiness?

We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning.  Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students.  Learn more by clicking here.