Okay y’all … free of charge I’m going to supply you with 7 basics (that should be worked on prior to the student’s senior year) that I’m calling “Admissions 101”. This is designed to help you figure out (mostly aimed toward parents) what it takes to get in to college … because I’m that nice! Or basically because I’m sick of people not looking anything up and just assuming they know how the system works.
I will be doing a whole separate post on how not to be a “Helicopter Parent” and also a post on “Financial Aid 101” so be on the look out!
- GET EDUCATED. The college admissions process has changed since you went through it (and is extremely confusing for those who never have), and is affected by many factors, including today’s economic hard times.
- LOOK AROUND. Don’t rely solely on school websites — they’re primarily marketing tools. Sites such as www.collegeboard.com and www.petersons.com offer basic information plus unbiased views.
- VISIT SCHOOLS. What you can do: set an itinerary, book the hotel, gas up the car, pack your suitcase. What you can’t do: choose all the schools, call to arrange interviews, or call to make a reservation on a tour or at an information session.
- FINANCIAL AID. Fill out the FAFSA. This form is needed for any kind of financial aid, and requires a tax return and other information your student doesn’t have. Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov to learn more.
- BE REALISTIC. Your son or daughter should be applying to at least one safety (high probability of acceptance), one match (reasonable probability), and one reach (medium to low probability—but who knows?) school. You can suggest or guide him or her to choices that meet that mix. Look at the stats for the school based on last years average admittance and that will let you know your chances.
- BE ORGANIZED. Creating a calendar with important dates (deadlines for applications, teacher recommendations, transcript requests, financial aid requests, etc.) at the beginning of the application process is useful.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Most applications require students to exhibit knowledge of the school , much as you are expected to know about a company when on a job interview. If requested, you can help in this area by researching on the Internet, and finding out if there are alumni in your area who conduct informational interviews.
Of course, any questions … feel free to ask me! 🙂