The college application process is more than a transcript, essay, and the school the student is accepted into. It’s also about ensuring that the student has the right resources, information and developed skills needed in order to feel confident in their transition from high school senior to a first year college student. When college planning is in full-swing, your child may start to feel overwhelmed with the volume of mail, brochures and cards; making it critical that they are able to sort through the right information they have been provided at college fairs. Here, then, is the action plan that can assist you with your child’s college bound search.
High School to College Academics
One of the biggest changes students will face is going from high school to college level courses. Whether your child is at the top of their class, or struggling to maintain a solid GPA, college level academics are likely going to be an entirely different ball game. First things first, encourage your child to start working with their school counselor to create their academic schedule. If your child performs better in the morning, it might be beneficial to try and take on a course load that is scheduled for first thing in the morning or earlier in the day. While you want to encourage your child to challenge themselves, they should never take on more than they can handle.
Please note, if your child has a learning or physical disability, be sure that they find out what additional resources and accommodations the college offers to ensure that their needs are being met.
Preparing the College Application
Perfecting the college application takes skill, a special attention to detail, and of course a craft for identifying oneself as a desirable candidate and great addition to the campus community. Once the application has been completed, it’s time for the college essay: an opportunity for your child to demonstrate their best qualities and stand out in a crowd of thousands of other applications. While it sounds unattainable to squeeze in years of information into one application, it’s definitely not impossible. Start by encouraging your child to talk to you, their peers and school faculty so they can start to discover what makes them truly unique. This simple exercise can be hugely valuable when deciding what to center the college essay around.
What else is essential for the college application? Here are just a few others things your child may need to include in order to be considered:
- High school transcript
- SAT or ACT scores
Research and Touring College Campuses
In order for students to successfully narrow down their college search, they should tour the campus and learn as much as possible about what they’re investing in. Once your child has identified a school of interest at a college fair, they can start making a list of the colleges they want to visit. Many, if not all, colleges offer campus tours that are hosted by a representative or student who is passionate and knowledgeable about the college.
Encourage your child to continue researching the colleges they are interested in. While college fairs continue to be an invaluable tool for finding the right fit, there are a variety of different tools that are as easy as a click of a mouse. Here are a couple of tools your child can utilize when narrowing down their search:
Financial Planning for College Bound Students
It’s without question that college is a huge investment, so it’s important that you and your family are armed with the right resources and information in order to start estimating the cost of education. At the University of Vermont, our goal is to help students and parents understand and manage the business of higher education finances.
The UVM Student Financial Services works for undergraduate, graduate, medical or continuing education students from the day you apply for admission, to the day you make the last payment on your student loans. While tools for estimating your college education are highly valuable, working with Student Financial Services will be the most helpful option when navigating federal loans – especially for new and prospective students.
If you share connections with someone on campus, especially in the admissions or financial aid department, use your network of relationships to your advantage to learn about new scholarships and also ensure that they have a direct contact when continuing the planning process after high school graduation.