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)
Creating the initial College List - Your Alma Mater isn't on it!
Bruce Springsteen famously sang about “Glory Days.” And you will start reminiscing as well once your student starts talking about college. Your sentences will often start with, “Remember when…?” and, “This one time…” and you’ll finish with, “Oh goodness, those were the best four years.” Well, you’ll end with that and then add in that you studied hours and hours a day and never ever partied so that your student will follow the good example.
But as you begin to help your student create their initial college list, you must take yourself out of the equation. This isn’t about you. This is about your student. And their path, goals, and future. This is not a chance for you to relive your “glory days” and it is not your student’s job to make up for any steps you feel you missed.
This exercise is a chance for you to share your experiences, good and bad, and your knowledge. But your goal is for them to learn what mistakes you made so that they don’t make the same ones – but instead, they make a whole new set of mistakes that are all their own that they can relive when they are parents.
Please do not force your student to put your alma mater on his/her list. What was good for you might not be the right fit for them, their goals, or their future. This is a time for you all to do some learning.
Start by coming up with a good college list, a list of more than 10 colleges that fit who your student is as a person and whose academic requirements in test scores and GPA match their academic background and have a strong reputation in the area your student potentially wants to study.
Talk to friends, family, teachers, and your student’s counselor to get some starting ideas. Use school resources like Naviance and Career Cruising, or websites like Collegeprowler.com or Collegeconfidential.com to get started on the search.
There is no shortage of high quality schools that will serve your student well. Help them get started on the research and schedule visits when time allows. Small or big? Near or far? Academically challenging or being in the honors college? There are so many facets to consider.
Talk with your teen about your college experience
Rather than focus on college rankings, encourage your child to identify colleges that are a good fit. It’s so easy for parents to fall into the trap of thinking that the best college for their kid is a high prestige college, rather than one that matches him or her as a student and person. Be aware that many colleges beyond the Ivies and other superstar schools have better records for getting their undergraduates into graduate schools and into good jobs. Your goal should be 4 years, 1 college, and getting them off your payroll and onto someone else’s.
Check on any special requirements for their Junior year courses. AP courses specifically often have summer work that is required prior to the start of the school year.
Sophomore year’s final exams are important ones for your student’s college admissions. Help them create a 2-week study schedule – do your best to support them as they prepare – then maybe plan something fun for them when they finish!
myOWNEDU for Schools!
We work with schools to bring college planning courses to students and offer free College Planning Presentations for parents. Learn more by clicking here.