You’ve worked hard on your college list and applications. You researched schools, visited as many as possible and have even written your essays and submitted all, if not most, of your applications. But this time of year, the inevitable “What if?” can set in. Parents can succumb to it just as easily as students. “What if the ideal college is out there and we just haven’t found it?” “What if I don’t get accepted anywhere?” “What if we don’t get any financial aid?”
It will be here before you know it; you will be handed a booklet, or given a website to view, and told to pick your courses for next year. This can cause the common “deer in the headlights” look. How do you even begin? In this previous blog, we outlined some common questions that students have when selecting their courses for the following year so be sure to read that, but in this blog, we will give step-by-step directions for how to make the best decisions about course selection for you.
If you haven’t already read this article from Education Week, I suggest that you do so. It was concerning to us here at Campus Bound, and we wanted to take this opportunity, in this blog, to respond to it.
The take-away from the article, and from this recent study from the National Association of College Admission Counselors, is that only a third of the public high schools in the United States have a college counselor, or designated counselor, to help them with post-high school educational goals. Even more concerning is that the likeliness of a school having a college counselor goes down as the poverty rate of the high school students goes up. So even fewer middle to lower class students are getting this kind of support.
It’s counter-intuitive, but parents who take a step back from their child’s college admissions process may actually hear more. It can be very hard advice to follow; we get it, but stick with us on this.
When I’ve asked groups of juniors and seniors what their parents can do to help them with the college process, their response is almost always… stop asking me about the college process. A student once told me, “I just want to have one dinner with my family where college isn’t brought up.”
It’s no surprise that taking a year off between high school and college is a growing trend in America. The rising number of gap year programs and increase in information about taking a gap year are leading parents to ask the question, “Could a gap year program be right for my son or daughter?” The gap year trend has seen a 20 percent increase since 2006 and the initial data is coming back with overwhelmingly positive indications for student success in college. Yet, many parents are still hesitant and anxious about their student taking a year off. Being informed and seeking help from trusted professionals will help you will make the right decision about whether or not this rising trend is right for your child.
“I don’t think I’ll get anything, is it even worth it?” I receive that question often this time of year. Financial aid applications have been compared to a root canal so it’s not exactly something one would choose to do unless it was going to have some benefit.
From time to time, I like to tap into the wealth of college counseling and admission counseling experience of the staff at Campus Bound and ask them for the “inside scoop” on a particular topic. For this month, I asked them:
“What is one thing parents can do to help their child during the college admission process?”
The college application process is complicated, and it’s understandable that families would want to seek as much information as they possibly can. But, we have learned over many years of doing this work that too much advice can actually work against you. Here are a few examples when it makes sense to cut down the outside advice and maybe even trust your own gut.
Bear with me while I share a quick personal story. The other day my son’s teacher called me to tell me that he had been wearing his hat in school. He’s only in first grade, and it’s not a hard rule that hats can’t be worn. She called him to her desk to ask him to remove his hat. However, rather than the typical, “Please remove your hat,” she had the consideration to ask a very important question: “Why are you wearing your hat in the classroom?” Read More
It’s tough to be a parent of a teenager. Period. We get it! Most Campus Bound counselors are parents ourselves, and many have been through the college admissions process with our own kids. Even those of us who haven’t gone through it ourselves have been working with teens and families long enough to know how stressful this time can be.