Advice for Parents of Middle School Students
Jun20

Advice for Parents of Middle School Students

What would you do as parents of middle school students when things aren’t going exactly right? Do you do nothing and consider this one of “life’s lessons” where your child has to learn to tough it out no matter what middle school scheduling throws at him?

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Parent College Coach Tip #17: Don’t Waste the Summer
May23

Parent College Coach Tip #17: Don’t Waste the Summer

Colleges are looking for well-rounded students, and summer is the best time to beef up the resume; not only for college applications, but scholarship applications as well. And you’ll have an answer for the classic, “I’m bored!”

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Share Your College Visit Story with Us
Jun16

Share Your College Visit Story with Us

– Do you have a college visit story to share? We’d love to hear it! Share your story parent-to-parent on Smart College Visit!

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The Parent’s Guide to College Applications
Oct13

The Parent’s Guide to College Applications

Disclosure: This is an approved cross-post from TheChicagoMoms.com written by Duong Sheahan. You can find the original article here. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been uttering the words“college” for the past several months and it’s been a potpourri of mixed emotions. We are in the early stages of the college application process as my oldest daughter is entering her senior year. My husband and I are learning so much from our daughter as she has taken initiative during this college application process. Maybe she ought to write a book titled, The Parent’s Guide to College Applications {by a Teen}. But how is it even possible that we went from playing dress up in my old prom gowns, donning hats from my collection, sipping tea and noshing on cookies to preparing for college? One day I’m ecstatic and the next I’m holding back tears. While she’s preparing herself to fill out college applications and writing essays, I’m preparing myself to let her go…and it may be far away. MT’s preparation started as a freshman by visiting collegboard.com and researching schools in general. She browsed StudentsReview.com to read reviews of schools she had researched and based on the reviews she formed her own opinions about the schools and either added it to her list of “Interested” or omitted it. When I was a freshman, my mind was on boys and certainly not preparing for college. During MT’s college research, she compiled a list of schools that sparked her interest and found the midrange ACT and SAT scores for incoming freshmen. This gave her a goal score to set for herself while studying for her own ACT & SAT tests.  {Gosh, did I even care about my ACT or SAT scores? I think not. } With private school tuition and other expenses capping our budget, we decided to make another sacrifice and enrolled MT into an ACT/SAT prep course through Kaplan her junior year. This was worth the financial sacrifice because it helped raise MT’s score by 7 points, qualifying her for some of the more challenging schools. Because of MT’s determination and self motivation for college search, even though it seemed premature, as parents we allowed her the freedom to select the colleges that interested her. She presented us a list of colleges based on decision plans. We learned that for half of the colleges, she decided to apply under the early decision option, and the other half, regular decision. Early decision applications are usually due November 1, in which you will hear back from the college around mid-December. Regular decision applications are usually due in January or February, and you will receive the admissions decision by...

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Candidate Reply Date: May 1 Countdown Begins
Apr26

Candidate Reply Date: May 1 Countdown Begins

May 1, the National Candidate Reply Date, is just six days away. By May 1, students who have been offered  admission by a college or university will need to have notified the school whose offer they are accepting by returning the acceptance form and sending in the necessary tuition deposit. Students who have been wait-listed by their first-choice schools should decide which offer to accept from their pool of second-choice schools extending an offer of admission. Replies and deposits are due by May 1 to colleges nationwide. It’s likely if you are a student who has been wait-listed, you won’t hear about whether or not your status changes from wait-listed to offered until sometime well after the first of May and, for many, the wait can extend into July before notifications will be sent. If you are still on the fence about which offer of admission to accept, it’s a good idea to revisit the school or schools you are evaluating. If there’s not enough time to do so before the end of this week, then review notes you made from any prior visits. Did you use a college visit evaluation form or take any photos? Can you recall what it was that made you want to apply to a particular school? Which school is the best fit financially? The college countdown has begun, but the journey is your own and it’s likely that you have many good choices. As corny as this sounds, college, like most things in life, is about what you make of it–you just have to make the May 1 deadline to get going on that journey. Related articles: How to Improve Your Chances of Admission when Wait-Listed Wait-Listed? Don’t Take it Personally Top 5 Steps to get off the Wait List Top 5 Questions to Ask about Financial Aid: Parent-to-Parent Keeping Track of College...

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Don’t Pick a College Sight Unseen
Feb23

Don’t Pick a College Sight Unseen

As a parent of two kids who attended college, I learned a very valuable lesson: never pick a college sight unseen. The rules that apply to any major purchase are even more important when making the decision to invest thousands of dollars on a college education. You would never buy a car without test-driving it, or move into a home without taking a walk through and getting a home inspection. Based on my experience with both my kids, I can tell you that your teen should never accept admission to a college without getting a feel for the campus and campus life. My daughter had her heart set on attending a university in Boston. It was inexplicable to her father and me because she had never visited the city. But from the time she was a child she dreamed of going to college there. She worked hard in school and had the grades and the high school resume to assure her acceptance to just about any top-tiered college. She was indeed accepted to several colleges in the Boston area, receiving a full-ride scholarship to one of them. But, before signing on the dotted line, I suggested we plan a trip to all the schools, just to be sure she was happy with the college that offered her a 4-year scholarship. Needless to say, it’s a good thing we did. The minute we set foot on the campus she knew it was not for her. It was too small, there was no Greek life, and she did not seem to fit in with the student population. On the other hand, there was another college that had offered her a nice financial aid package and when she met with admissions, financial aid, and some students, felt completely at home. If she had opted to attend the university that gave her a full scholarship, she would have been home in a semester—there is no doubt in my mind. It was the college visit that sealed the deal and she spent four fabulous years in Boston, and two more as a graduate student. My son attended college after a four-year tour of duty in the Marine Corps. He chose a university based on the recommendations of his fellow marines. He never set foot on the campus or took the time to speak with any of the students or faculty before showing up for his first day of class. He found out that the college that he thought would be “social” on the weekends was a graveyard. Most of the students were local and went home to their families. Most of the freshman class...

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