Parents play an essential role in the college enrollment process. Without their efforts, resources, and faithfulness to their child, entering into a college with ease may not necessarily betide. For this reason, it is important for parents to become acquainted with information that gives guidance and insight in order to find the right college for their child and help them enroll successfully.
A parent’s role is a delicate one. Too much involvement can leave their child feeling as if their opinion is irrelevant and cause dissent between the parent and the student. Too little involvement can leave their child in the balance of how to go about a complicated process, and when mistakes are made, it can cost the student time and money, possibly a missed semester. It is consequential that the parent find the adequate balance of collaboration. Here are four steps that a parent’s involvement can be most valuable:
The student will most likely have several schools in mind that he or she would like to attend, and schools can most certainly look better on paper than in actuality, so planning a visit to the school is recommended. Have your child narrow their list of school choices to top picks in greater contrast to the other, e.g., large school vs. small school, etc.
When: The best time to visit any campus is during the week sometime in the fall or even early spring where classes and activities are in full operation. Check the school’s website to make sure there are no black-out dates for touring and if advance notice is required.
Why: College websites and brochures are not going to give you a first-hand look at the day-to-day functions such as student to faculty ratio or class size, the professors, food, the diversity of the student body, the social activities and the housing adequacies. Make sure when you visit, these elements are a fit for your child’s needs and comfort level. Also, during the visit, take up the opportunity to get as much of the campus publications and business cards as you can that only be obtained in a visit.
How: Researching is the best way to prepare. This can give you and your child an idea of what places on campus to visit. Get a map of the campus, and make a list of places that interest you and your child. If advance notice for touring is needed, make sure to schedule your visit accordingly.
Also, have your child make a checklist of things to do: admission tours, faculty/student interviews, sit in on a class, eat in the cafe, visit housing facilities, visit the bookstore and library, collect school publications, and visit student activities bulletin boards to get an idea of the level of campus social life.
What: Bring a camera, and have your child pack a notebook to document things that stood out to him or her that can later help in determining the final school of choice. Don’t forget the “to-do” checklist.
During the application process, the parent can be most helpful in gathering information on deadlines and requirements and helping their student with organizing such. Get a monthly calendar and create a checklist as a visual guide for the student.
Remember, that you cannot fill out the application for them, but encourage them to be as honest as possible. Admission officers can sense embellishments very easily. Character and integrity shine through brighter than applications overloaded with fantastical accomplishments. When collecting people to write letters of recommendation, help your child choose people that can write about the type of person the student is rather than their credentials.
Scholarships can be available through numerous organizations. Employers, churches, various institutions can all offer scholarships so investigating these avenues for free funding is advantageous. Be sure to check with the school’s guidance office to see if there are any other types of scholarships and the deadlines for applying.
Beware of scholarship scams. Fraudulent scholarships have blanketed the internet. Protect your child by knowing the tall-tell signs of chicanery.
Finances and the complexity of federal and private lending may not be something your child is privy to. This can be a very significant duty for the parent in the enrollment process. Getting as much information and researching the different methods of financing is essential. There are many resources to guide you in this process.
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