By Steve Schneider, School Counselor at Sheboygan South High School, Sheboygan, WI, Special to StudentAdvisor.com
Parents – we know that you only want the very best for your child. Choosing a college can be a difficult decision for your family. Here are 5 Things You Need to Know When Your Child is Applying to College:
1. KNOW THE REQUIREMENTS FOR SCHOOLS OF INTEREST. Every school has entrance requirements for students including what high school courses must be completed, what college entrance exam is preferred (ACT, SAT, etc.), and what the target score is for that exam. Knowing the requirements for the schools your child is interested in will prevent them from missing opportunities to apply.
2. FOUR-YEAR COLLEGES ARE NOT THE ONLY PATH. Not all occupations require earning a four-year degree. There are many, many fulfilling careers that are better accessed through a two-year technical college education. Many families fight the stigma that going to a technical college is somehow an indicator of less intelligence. Through my experience, I have seen that lots of students go to four-year colleges initially, discover they don’t like it after one year, and then enroll in a technical college to gain the knowledge and skills they need for their career.
3. VISIT, VISIT, VISIT. There are so many factors that make a college or university a “good fit” for a student – that’s why it’s important to physically spend some time on the campus of a school your child is considering. Pay attention to what is appealing about the campus: the architecture, the physical layout of the campus, the size, the green space, etc. Try to visit while school is in session, so you can get a sense of what the daily activity on campus is like. It is important for you and your child to feel comfortable at the school which they are considering. Make sure you visit all schools they are interested in, and spend a good chunk of time exploring the campus and buildings.
4. ESTABLISH CONTACT WITH THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE. Once your child has narrowed down their potential top three colleges, the next step is to make direct contact with the admissions office of those schools. This is a far more direct way to obtain answers to specific questions. I find the families who maneuver through the college application process with the most confidence are the ones who have been in contact with the college directly.
5. APPLY TO THREE TO FIVE SCHOOLS. Most students have that one schools in mind that they have been dreaming of attending. You should encourage your child to apply to more than one school; because opportunities may present themselves that otherwise might have gone unknown. Financial aid packages will differ widely from school to school to, so seeing options from several schools can also help your decision making.
Get more advice from real guidance counselors! Check out StudentAdvisor’s Navigating Admissions Guide.
Have some advice for other parents regarding the college admissions process? Comment & share below!