Hello Fellow Parents, and Welcome!
I am at your service…
I have two more essay/application coaching spots open for students who want to start directly after school ends (a few more for later in the summer), so contact me here if you’re interested or if you have a burning question for me to address in my next newsletter.
Today’s burning question from a (trying to stay) chill parent, “Do you have any tips for how to make a final college decision?”
Thank you for asking!
Tips for seniors’ big decision…
Studies show finances are the biggest driver of college decisions, so here’s my tenth hour financial tip: ask for more money if you need it! Think of your child’s financial aid award as a first offer. Use my script in College Admissions Cracked to make an “appeal” if the first offer doesn’t cut it for you. The worst a college can say is no, and they might say yes!
Fit also plays a huge part in this decision. The highest ranked school your kid got into is not necessarily the place that will prime them best for a bright future. This is the time to visit or revisit a couple of top contenders where your kid has been admitted, if you can. Send them off alone for coffee with a current student or a tour. If they are wary about leaving your side, perhaps re-think that gap year possibility. If you are wary about leaving their side, consider it a clue to ramp up your practice letting them go. (I know, easier said than done, but you’ve got this!)
Eliminate the waitlist from deliberations. Just because your kid has made the waitlist (congratulations; they would’ve been denied outright if unqualified!) doesn’t mean they have to stay on it. If they choose to keep waiting, and they’ve submitted a letter stating their continued interest (see my free resource here), they’ve done all they can. Admission off the waitlist does happen, but rarely, so steer the conversation away from options they might have in the future toward excitement over the definite options they have now. Every single college has amazing things to offer for enthusiastic students who take advantage of them upon arrival.
Consider the pros and cons of “yes, but…” college offers, as in, “You’re in!” but you can’t start until winter, or a year from now, or after you spend fall semester in Senegal. Again, congratulations to your kid on this quite valid offer of admission! A semester in Senegal before a winter start could be transformational, but if your child has her heart set on fall sorority rush, the timeline that works for the college may not work for her.
Okay, I’m just going to come right out and say it (which is my way). Where to attend college is the biggest, most expensive decision your senior has ever made up to this point in their young life. But we parents can add perspective to the mix. You have made bigger, more expensive decisions, case in point giving birth to or adopting this kid of yours in the first place because the combined cost (both financially and emotionally) of raising a child dwarfs the expense of college tuition, hands down. When your child stresses over this life-or-death-make-or-break-my-entire-future decision, you can swoop in like the superhero you are (and have always been) and tamp down the hysteria.
Your cheerleading is essential at this moment when your young adult is making their college decision. Of course, you will have opinions that will be difficult to suppress (I have been there). And others will not hesitate to share their unsolicited opinions about the best place for your kid to go to college. But at eighteen years old, your child can vote and be tried as an adult (not that this second detail applies to your child, but still)! They need to feel ownership over the decision they make about their next life adventure.
Parents of juniors…
I know you’re in a totally different place, visiting colleges this month for totally different reasons. Your child’s only jobs are:
- College shop whether on a spring break college tour extravaganza or virtually. (See College Admissions Cracked for more info.)
- Keep up grades despite all the outdoor temptations of spring.
- Stop and enjoy those blooming daffodils and what’s left of their childhood that will only happen once in their (and your) lifetime!
With the frenzy of college visits, spring fever, and decision-making (for seniors), decompression takes priority. I recommend:
I hope you also take time out of your busy life to enjoy the daffodils and the tulips coming up next.