“Great colleges can be found all over the United States and not just at the top of the college rankings. The best advice for students as well as parents is to start with a careful examination of personal goals for college. What do you want to get out of college? This places the focus of the college search on the ‘fit’ between the student and the school. College rankings should not trump the ‘fit’. Ultimately, this is what becomes most important when the student sets foot on campus.”
Ronald A. Crutcher, President, Wheaton College
Many parents believe that the primary concern during the college search is the list of schools under consideration. It's not. The most important thing is your student's personal growth and happiness.
-Colleges that Change Lives
The articles in this link are geared towards parents of college bound students who are seeking a better understanding of the contemporary college admission process.
How Admission Decisions are Made: Making the Final Cut
Class of 2011 College Acceptance List
Parents of Seniors Planning Guide
Parents of Juniors Planning Guide
The College Exploration Process / Parents List of Do's and Don't's
Your child is interested in exploring the option of attending college.
Take a deep breath - you are beginning yet another stage in your child's life. It will be exciting, frustrating, seemingly never ending, and yet over all too quickly.
Let your son or daughter take ownership. Step back and ask the three "w" questions:
--Who should be doing/leading this?
--What is my role?
--When should I help or not help?
--Pay attention to dates/deadlines.
--Attend parent workshops.
--Entrust your son or daughter to the counselors but don't be afraid to ask questions. Call the counselors if necessary and let them prod your son or daughter.
Be certain your son or daughter has made copies of applications.
Encourage college visits - with or without you. Your son or daughter should spend the night on campus if they feel comfortable.
Enjoy the process as much as possible. Ten years from now, it will not make a difference where your son or daughter went. What will make the difference is what he or she does with the experience.
Don't bug your child. Don't expect your son or daughter to be ready to plug in right now. Time may be wasting, but the process will go nowhere until he or she is ready. Don't give advice freely. They don't want it. They just want you to listen. Don't force them to read it all, visit everywhere, spend the night, etc.
Don't compare your child to others.
Don't ever discuss your son or daughter's SAT/ACT scores or GPA.
Don't decide now where your son or daughter is going to college. Let them explore and discover. Encourage their curiosity and their decision making.
If your son or daughter visits a college, do not go to the interview with them unless specifically invited by the college to do so. Many times colleges say they couldn't get a sense of the student because the parent dominated the interview.
Remember that the college process is ever-changing. Consider these recent trends:
Competition for the same schools is greater now than ever before
Much higher GPA and testing scores to get into highly competitive colleges
Erratic economy: many families will be stretched to the limit to afford tuition
Many more applications at every school drives down admission rates
A high percentage of the class is taken early decision. This skews acceptances for those not choosing early decision making it tougher to get in under the "normal" December 1 deadline.
Title IX for sports. This has swelled the ranks of females competing for college scholarships in sports.
Number of legacies