Our youngest daughter also referred to by me on social media as The Very Tall Teen, or as her daddy’s Tall Twin, is ready to roll out.
She’s college-ready and can’t wait to just go! We’re filling out applications, applying for scholarships, writing and rewriting essays, and visiting colleges.
The process can be overwhelming, but here are a few tips to make it manageable.
Visit schools while classes are in session. Since we’re still dealing with high school classes, we opted to tour the University of Tennessee on a Saturday. Even though it was the weekend, we were still able to get a sense of campus life. You also get a chance to talk to students and faculty outside of the tour leaders.
Get to campus early. If it’s possible, stay on or near campus. This gives you a chance to check out the area, find parking and look around. Does it feel safe? Are there interesting things to do in the town? Places to eat when the dining hall isn’t cutting it?
Bonus tip: Pack snacks. (It’s almost like having a toddler all over again!) Sounds funny, but you know your child and if they get hangry, no one is going to enjoy the tour. Usually, tours take place around the middle of the day 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., so having something to snack on helps.
Take notes and ask questions. Everyone should be doing this, kids and parents. This is your chance to get information straight from the source. Encourage your child to take notes and ask questions (good luck with that one). Remind them that this could potentially be their home for the next four years.
Try to meet with the department your child is interested in. Schedule a meeting with the admissions office and department heads. If they’re not available when you visit campus, you may be able to schedule a Skype call if they offer it.
Give your child a chance to think it through. During and after the visit, let your child think about if this is the place for them. When they’ve compared schools and pared down their choices, discuss costs (in-state or out-of-state tuition, scholarships, financial aid, loans, out-of-pocket costs) and other factors to make the final decision.
We have no idea where she’ll end up. Her #1 rule? No small towns. (I guess my alma mater in Oxford, Ohio, is off the table. #MiamiUniversity #LoveAndHonor) We’ve talked her out of only applying to schools in California – is it *every* high school senior’s dream to go to college in California? Kevin and I both had Pepperdine as our dream school. But… she’s given up California dreamin’ for New York livin’. Yes, this girl needs a job! We’ve decided to let her apply wherever she wants to apply. There’s no harm in applying!
Do you have a kid who’s college-bound? What’s been the most challenging part of the process? What’s been the easiest?