Jane in NC Posted April 30, 2013 Share Posted April 30, 2013 Now that our high school seniors have made their decisions regarding college, I think this would be a good time to discuss the process of how we help our kids determine a list of colleges to which they applied. Up front it should be noted that there is no single path to success. Our kids have individual needs and our financial circumstances vary. My son is completing his junior year of college. We started looking at colleges during his sophomore year of high school, making some visits in May. We knew that he would not attend my husband's alma mater (Lehigh) but we thought that Lehigh would be a good starting point as my husband was familiar with the campus and the process there. Since we were in PA, we also visited a liberal arts school (Dickinson) that had caught my son's eye. But at this point he really wasn't sure what he wanted in a college. During the fall of his junior year, he began taking dual enrollment courses at the CC. He read Loren Pope's Colleges that Change Lives and occasionally toured a college's website. All of these things helped shape his ideas about college itself but he began focusing more and more on schools that had a program (archaeology) with his interest (ancient European). This alone actually streamlined his college list. Many parents discuss large vs. small schools, urban vs. rural settings. Some kids we know really want to participate in the sports experience--big football games on Saturday and NCAA basketball tournaments. My son found the college he attends through a family friend, a retired high school guidance counselor who gave him a list of schools off the beaten track to consider. Once your student has a list, I recommend going to the College Navigator on the government IPEDS site to look at the middle test score range and the percent of students receiving financial aid. There is also an average cost feature which shows what a typical student pays as opposed to the sticker price. Visiting schools when they are in session is ideal but is challenging when your own student has commitments through dual enrollment, co-op, etc. Do the best you can. And remember that a student does not need to visit every school before applying. Many schools will do telephone or Skype interviews. The visit can come later if your student keeps the school on his list. I am sure that lots of other great advice will follow. Let's help the parents of sophomores and juniors look down the road. Jane Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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