Q&A with Debbie Schwartz on The College Admissions Process

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In case you missed #CampusChat with Debbie Schwartz, founder of Road2College, or you joined us late, below are Debbie’s answers to the Q&A. For a complete transcript from Twitter Chat, go to: #CampusChat Transcript with @rd2college.


Q1 When did you start preparing your student for college? #CampusChat

A1 We didn’t think about college till Feb. of 11th grade. She’s my oldest & that’s when the school had their 1st presentation. #campuschat

A1 I realized it’s better for parents (not students) to start earlier, at least to understand the process, like 9th grade. #campuschat

A1 I was lucky w/my 1st child. She’s focused/driven on her own. I started earlier w/my 2nd, who is in 10th & has different needs #campuschat


Q2 What role did you take in the admissions process? #CampusChat

A2 I started as a guide & sometimes became a pusher. I tried to get her to know herself better & what she wanted from college. #campuschat

A2 Mid August to Dec.was painful. Writing essays is different than writing for school. We discussed them & brainstormed ideas. #campuschat

A2 I was also her mental coach. Giving support to push to the end (w/school work & apps), & putting things in perspective. #campuschat


Q3 What did you do to help your student stay organized? #CampusChat

A3 We made a master schedule w/dates for everything (transcripts, recs, interviews, essay drafts, revisions, final due dates). #campuschat

A3 We created a #dropbox folder to share drafts & used #Evernote to save #college website info and final copies of everything. #campuschat

A3 She couldn’t submit anything the night before a due date, better to be done 5 days before, so there’s room for the unknown. #campuschat


Q4 How can a support group help moms during the process? #CampusChat

A4 The process & dealing with a teen is frustrating! Parents need an outlet to complain & get advice. #campuschat

A4 Luckily, I have 2 older sisters who had gone thru the process & we all had a child applying to #college at the same time. #campuschat

A4 Find a friend who’s already been thru the #college #admissions process. Hopefully someone who will let you vent. #campuschat


Q5 What advice can you give about dealing with the financial aspects of college admissions? #CampusChat

A5 Know how much you can afford for #college early on (9th grade). This may impact your child’s push for better grades & scores. #campuschat

A5 Understanding your #EFC and net price calculators will impact the #college list and whether your child applies early or not. #campuschat

A5 Getting educated on #college financing is the most important thing to start early! Time lets you research & make changes. #campuschat


Q6 If you do everything right, can you guarantee specific results? #CampusChat

A6 Nothing is guaranteed in #college #admissions. My daughter applied ED, but also applied rolling, EA & was prepared for RD. #campuschat

A6 The “institution’s priority/needs” are not known nor predictable. This is what makes #admissions a black box. #campuschat

A6 This is a hard lesson for overachievers. They think hard work = what they want, but not always in #college #admissions. #campuschat


Q7 Based on your experience do you feel students can do this alone? #CampusChat

A7 I think it’s very difficult for a 17/18 yr old to handle this process on their own. #campuschat

A7 Why should a teenager be left alone to handle a major financial investment? Whether parents are paying or loans are used. #campuschat

A7 Parents (or someone close by) need to be a guide, coach, nudge, & advisor.      #campuschat


Q8 What did you learn going through the process that will help other moms? #CampusChat

A8 I learned the process is NOTHING like what is was 25 yrs ago! Don’t rely on your own experience from the past. #campuschat

A8 Let your child’s true self shine thru in the college list, in essays, in communicating w/ schools. It’s their college years. #campuschat

A8 Emotions will run the gamut, w/arguments, frustrations, & disappointments. Breathe deeply & find ways to have fun. #campuschat


Q9 What is your best advice for moms who are starting on this journey? #CampusChat

A9 There’s lots of information out there in books, websites, classes, etc. Start early to become an educated consumer! #campuschat

A9 Unfortunately, the process is a game & parents need to understand the ins & outs of admissions & financing. Start early! #campuschat

A9 Don’t be afraid to ask questions to #finaid officers, school counselors, other parents, but let students talk to #admissions. #campuschat

Z. Kelly Queijo

Author: Z. Kelly Queijo

Kelly is founder of Smart College Visit and Smart College Consulting. When she's not creating content for the blog or clients, tweeting, or hosting #CampusChat, she's planning her next mobile move.

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