Preparing your child for college can be exciting but extremely challenging. After all, attending a university is a significant life transition that provides more freedom for your child than they’ve ever had before. As your child prepares for the college admissions process, there are a few things you can do to help them prepare for the process and increase their chances of having a successful undergraduate experience.
1. Research colleges together
One of the best ways to prepare a child for the college admissions process is by conducting the college search together. The earlier parents and children can start looking for colleges, the better, as this will allow them ample time to break down the admissions process into steps across a long timeline. Experts recommend starting these conversations during a child’s sophomore year of high school and visiting schools to help alleviate stress.
2. Let your child take the lead
The admissions process should be about the child instead of parents reminiscing on their glory years and what they loved about their college experience. While parental contact with college is normal and expected, they shouldn’t overdo it. It’s always a good idea for your child to reach out to colleges themselves to ask questions and advocate for themselves rather than the parent doing it.
3. Discuss what your child wants out of college
Parents and children are not always aligned on priorities. For example, the parent may be more interested in the outcome of having a degree, while their child is more interested in student activities or campus life. Parents should regularly meet with their children as a family to make informed decisions about colleges and evaluate schools because of each side (child and parents).
4. Create a financial plan
As parents think about paying for college, they must talk with their teens about budgeting and student loans. The conversation could include the financial commitment the parents and the child are responsible for and should happen before they start applying to colleges. Parents need to lay the foundation for what they can afford, what they are willing to pay, and the debt burden that the student is ready to take on.
5. Look for merit aid early
It can be hard not to get sticker shock when looking at tuition. The costs listed on a university’s website often don’t reflect what families pay once merit aid is factored in. During their child’s junior year, parents should speak with their students about looking into merit-based scholarships at colleges they are interested in. These scholarships are often the most significant and steady form of funding you don’t have to pay back. And learning about the criteria for these scholarships ahead of time allows you to plan with your child everything they will need to qualify.
6. Visit campuses in person and virtually
Being on campus can help teens imagine themselves there. The COVID-19 pandemic has also provided new ways to tour colleges, as universities have invested money in virtual tours. Parents and children can take self-guided tours or in-person tours to connect with schools.
Reach out to Education Attainment Services for tips on how to get accepted into college.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get into your dream college, reach out to Educational Attainment Services. We help high school students prepare for applying to college and what it takes to get into the school they want. Schedule an appointment by calling 800-706-4134 or send a message using our contact form.
We look forward to working with you and helping you get into your dream college.