As parents, we know that sometimes the best advice can come from fellow parents who have successfully navigated some developmental step or landmark -- or land mine -- in their children's lives. Here are two of the savviest moms we know -- Lisa Endlich Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington of the excellent blog Grown and Flown -- on next steps for parents of seniors.
This is a moment to rejoice. Your child was accepted to college and all of your effort and his have resulted in this success. There may be some small disappointments, there may euphoria and there may be some big decisions ahead, but this is one of life’s big moments and it should be noted and celebrated. Let your nearly grown child know just how proud you are and acknowledge how much of his effort it took to get to this moment.
Once your family has taken a time to savor this special moment, there are a few more practical matters that need your
Book the revisits.
Your child may be making a very real decision between two or more schools they have not seen in a year, or more. See if the school has official revisit days when pre-frosh return for an organized program. If such a program exists, make certain to book a place in the program and hotel reservations if needed. If there is not official program, make plans for your teen to take another
There have been a lot of headlines lately about standardized testing. There is no question standardized testing is in a period of evolution. As a result, you will be hearing more and more about schools that are "test optional."
In recent years, many colleges have looked more closely at the use of standardized test scores and some have adopted a “test- optional” policy. That means they are flexible about submission of standardized test scores. But it's not as obvious as it sounds. At some schools test optional means students are no longer required to submit SAT or ACT scores. At others, however, it means students may be asked to submit the results of AP, IB, or SAT Subject Tests in lieu of SAT or ACT results. Eligibility to not submit test scores may also be contingent on other factors— for example, applicants might need to rank in the top 10 percent of their class or have a GPA of 3.5 or above. Furthermore, applicants can sometimes be required to meet alternative admission requirements such as submission of graded writing samples, additional teacher recommendations, or in- person interviews. You will need to check the testing policy of each school to which you are applying.
May 1, the National Candidates Reply Date, is the deadline for formally notifying one college you will accept its offer of admission -- and sealing the deal with a check for the nonrefundable deposit. Keep in mind that you have signed a certification on your application form promising you will send a deposit to only one institution. Double- depositing— sending deposits to two or more schools in order to keep your options open— takes places away from other students. Your acceptance letter is conditional, and it’s easier than you think for the colleges to find out if you have deposited at more than one institution. If you ignore your ethical obligation and send deposits in to more than one school, you run the risk of both colleges rescinding your admission.
It's decision time! Your financial aid award letters will usually arrive with your letters of acceptance, or soon thereafter. Even though you will be celebrating and contemplating your choices, you will also need to be focused and diligent about evaluating your financial aid offers. College advisor Alice Kleeman is back with advice and answers for your questions during this important time.
· You will often receive financial aid offers (also called "financial aid packages" or "financial aid award letters") with your admit letter or shortly thereafter. Review these offers carefully. Ask questions at your College and Career Center or Guidance Office if you don't understand your letters.
· Colleges vary tremendously in their cost of attendance, present their costs in different ways, and offer different amounts of financial aid in different combinations. This can make it difficult to understand which combination of price and student aid award is best. Here are some tools for comparing financial aid awards:
High school counselor Barbara Simmons joins us today in our ongoing series of reflections, advice and practical guidance for students and parents on all things decisions. Read on to find out how an ancient Chinese text, the Tao Te Ching, also known as "The Way," may offer some guidance:
Decision – that word even has the sound of ‘final’ –landing on the suffix of ‘ion’ – ‘zuhn.’ "Decision” originates from the Latin which means “to settle” on something – having cut off other options.
The definitions provided for decision refer to making a judgment – making up one’s mind – and, perhaps like many of you, I frequently have a difficult time making up my mind – even though I know the satisfied and grateful feeling I have when I DO make up my mind. But the “trick” or “key” to decision-making comes well before the “making up one’s mind". Decision making has as its foundation knowing our minds well enough to make our minds up, to settle on something without regrets.
Especially for members of the senior class in high school, there ARE decisions that arise in different times in one’s life that must be made when two seemingly VERY GOOD options appear. But it has also happened that two choices appear that would seem to be clearly marked as “good decision” vs. “bad decision” and circumstance might have us choose the seemingly less desirable option.
Juniors, one of your tasks now and over the coming summer months is to begin to put together a list of colleges to which you may apply. Our Counselor of the Month Trevor Rusert of Pennsylvania's Sewickley Academy has some great advice about how to start:
Rather than start with the college where you have almost no chance for acceptance, let’s start by applying to 4-5 outstanding colleges where your chances for admission are strong (i.e., your GPA is above the average GPA of accepted students from your school, and your standardized test results are above or at the top of the average range). We no longer call them “safety schools” because that tends to carry a negative connotation. Just because one school is easier to gain admission to than another does not mean that you are sacrificing quality of education. Therefore, we call these colleges “foundation schools”. These are the schools where you can build a foundation for success in life. Places where you can receive an outstanding education, and go on to launch a successful career. The application process is kind of like building a house. You don’t start by planning a rooftop swimming pool (that is probably not realistic), you start by building a strong foundation.
Find your foundation schools! This time next year, you'll be glad you did.
The wait list is probably on the minds of a lot of students this week, so we're bringing you a recap of the next steps you should take if you've been waitlisted, as well as the round-ups of our expert advice on being waitlisted. If you're wondering whether or not to accept a spot on the wait list or move on or exactly how to make your case to a school where you're waitlisted, click on these links and read on…
Flagler College is one of the younger private liberal arts colleges, located in the oldest city in America. Founded in 1968, Flagler is located in the heart of St. Augustine, Florida, which was founded in 1565 by the Spanish -- 42 years before Jamestown and 55 years prior to the landing at Plymouth Rock.
The centerpiece of the 42-acre campus is the former Hotel Ponce de Leon, a grand resort built in 1888 by Henry Flagler, on the grounds of a former orange grove. Today, the fully restored building, added to the National Historic Register in 1975, is considered a masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture with beautiful grounds, hand-carved wood, imported marble, elaborate murals, and Tiffany stained glass windows, housing a women's residence hall, as well as administrative departments. If you're not lucky enough to get a room there, there are four other residence halls on the campus, as well as a library, a student center, an auditorium, a gymnasium, an art museum, and a laboratory and radio station for the Communication Department. And four of those buildings are historic structures as well.
We want to tell you a story. A story that we think gets to the heart of who most high school college counselors are -- at least the ones every parent wishes for their son or daughter. This is a story about Trevor Rusert and a student named Amanda.
Amanda lives with her father, a single parent. Her family is working class and Amanda had a significant scholarship to attend Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania where Rusert is Director of College Guidance. But her scholarship didn't cover everything, so Amanda worked 30 hours a week at McDonald's as shift manager -- 6 p.m. to midnight, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then full shifts on the weekend -- to make up the difference. In the summertime, she worked with Sewickley's maintenance crew during the day and was back at McDonald's at night -- 70-plus hours a week.
Mark Moody, Co-Director of College Counseling at Colorado Academy, joins us today in our continuing series of reflections, advice and practical guidance for students and parents on all things decisions -- from strategy, decision-making and coping through how to talk about your news with parents, friends and nosy neighbors. Read on to learn about one of the paths through your college decisions that leads to happiness -- and it's scientifically proven!
I remember opening the fat envelope from my first-choice college over twenty years ago. Nobody was home. I got so excited I ran around the living room screaming by myself. True story.
As it turned out, I didn’t go to that college. It was a far more expensive option than the college that offered me a scholarship, and attending that less expensive school was the compromise my parents and I agreed upon. At the time I felt like the universe was really unfair.
Twenty years later, so much of my life’s winding path connects back to seeds planted and passions discovered at my alma mater, which I would describe as having been so perfect for me that it’s laughable I felt so strongly about not attending my “first choice.” I know now that it was a place that probably would have been as good for me, but where I probably wouldn’t have started down pathways that are now essential parts of my identity.