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PANIC THE COMPLETE COLLEGE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR PARENTS

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GUEST EDITOR GREG TITUS Chairman & Founder BRIAN EBERMAN Chief Executive Officer

TAKE A DEEP BREATH. IT WILL BE OK

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BRIAN CARR Chief Marketing Officer bcarr@studentadvisor.com DEAN TSOUVALAS Editor in Chief dtsouvalas@studentadvisor.com ROB CARBONARO Vice President of Sales rcarbonaro@studentadvisor.com CLIFF W. LIBBY Director of Business Development clibby@studentadvisor.com ADDIE CONNER Vice President of Advertising aconner@studentadvisor.com

B ETH FR E DE R I C KS, M . E D.

TODD RODGERS Vice President of Engineering Sandra Proulx Community Manager sproulx@studentadvisor.com

s parents, we try to make our children’s lives as joyous, productive, and successful as possible. At StudentAdvisor.com we are parents and siblings, adult learners and alumni, educators and employers. We’ve created this guide to give you realistic, useful advice that you can share with your kids as they grow into college. We’ve assembled the components you’ll need to sort through the tough stuff, from motivating your kids to pursue a college career, to guiding you through the financing jungle and filling out financial aid forms, and much more. Throughout the guide you’ll find tips and tricks and links to our extensive library of information. Let’s get started! Enjoy!

Beth Fredericks bfredericks@studentadvisor.com

CARLY RODGERS Marketing Associate crodgers@studentadvisor.com TRACEY TOPOR Marketing Associate ttopor@studentadvisor.com ASHLEY WALLACE JONES Production Manager BRIAN LISOWSKI Web Designer BETH FREDERICKS WITH HER DAUGHTER MAE

Join the StudentAdvisor

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006

016  PAYING FOR IT

12 ways to reduce college costs

006 • THE VALUE OF LEARNING It All Starts at Home

009 • THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE Get a Jump Start

010 • THE OTHER “BIG TALK”

Easy Steps to Starting Conversation

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CONTENTS 022

008

020

010

012 • 10 THINGS TO KNOW

Before your child starts to apply

0 14

• THINKING AHEAD WILL THERE BE JOBS? Popular Degrees

022 • STAYING CONNECTED With your Child @ College

A MUST READ 020 • N EGOTIATING FINANCIAL AID

How to Find Scholarships

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It All Starts at H me How to Make Learning a Value in Your Family By Beth Fredericks, M.Ed.

I

f you want your children to soar academically and become stars in their chosen field, it helps to adopt a family flight plan. In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (St. Martin’s Griffin, 1997), Stephen Covey suggests families map out their goals, in the same way a pilot files a flight plan to keep on course. But the most meticulous planning won’t keep you on track if your compass strays from true north. That’s why it’s important to identify family values — like respect and empathy — which are basic to your lives. Learning is one of the core values that should be honored and encouraged in your family. It starts the minute you bring your child home from the hospital. Everything that baby will ever be or achieve in his or her life must be learned. Here are tips for making sure learning is prized in your family:

1 REFLECT ON THE VALUE OF LEARNING

It doesn’t matter how many diplomas hang on your walls; the idea is to recognize the worth of learning in your family. Get on the same page early. At a very young age your children will “feel” the value of learning in your home. They will observe what you do — watch the History Channel or daytime soaps? Get out the directions for “some assembly required” or call a handyman? They will pick up on your expectations, so make sure you know what your expectations are. “The types of expectations that have the greatest impact,” according to California State U n i ve r s i t y / L o n g Beach professor William Jeynes,

2 TALK ABOUT LEARNING. “are those that are subtle but understood by the child, such as parental sacrifice to save for the child’s college, low-stress communication, and a general agreement between the child and the parents on the value of a college education.” Jeynes writes in Teachers College Record that day after day, week after week, month after month, these expectations communicate “a supportive but scholarly atmosphere in the home.”

If you don’t share your values about learning with your child, someone else will. Kids will hear about college on the athletic fields (Oh, I’ll get a soccer scholarship), in the school hallways (Why study for the SAT? It’s not like I’m going to Harvard), and on Facebook (most people list schools attended). Find “teachable moments” that talk about learning. Do this while you go to the hardware store and buy supplies for a home project, while you watch movies, play

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ball outside, participate in community theater, or just cook a meal together. These activities may not be directly related to scholarly pursuits, but they are behaviors that say, “Learning is fun, and learning is something we celebrate every day in our family.”


THE VALUE OF LEARNING 5 FOCUS ON YOUR CHILD

Hands on learner? Loves to read? What is your child’s learning style? Make some mental notes when you observe your child doing something with focus and persistence. Can she read for hours? Does he stick with something better alone or with a group of friends? You may love numbers; he may not. The key, says Lloyd Peterson, Vice President of Education at College Coach, is simply to be supportive. He says, “There are three things to remember when encouraging your child’s passion: exposure (show them lots of options), encourage them to take a bite (try it, you’ll like it!), and then feed and water it. Believe me, whatever your child likes, I can find a major for it!”

3 DIG DEEPER.

Do you expect your kids to go to a four-year college? Would you love them to go to your alma mater? Why? Is there a “legacy” expectation in your family? Write down your college hopes for your kids. Don’t think too hard about it; just write. Ask your spouse or partner to do the same. Compare your answers. There are basically four alternatives for children after high school: get a job, join the military, go to a technical/vocational school, or go to college. Which ones are you comfortable talking about now? Which ones should you find out more about?

4 TELL STORIES.

Gather round the dinner table and talk about your college experience. What was it like? What did you study? Did you have any “hiccups” — take a semester off, change your major, transfer to another school? Highlight the humor and the pranks, as well as the low points. Did you make lifelong friends during late night dorm pizza parties? Why did you go to that school? Are you glad you went? Are you working now using what you learned in college? Find an opportunity to tell your story. Reveal what you learned and what has helped or held you back in life.

THE AUTHOR

A graduate of Eastern Michigan University, and Tufts University, Beth Fredericks holds a BA in Education and an M.Ed in Early Childhood Development. She is a parenting educator, community builder, and advocate for children and families. A recent “empty-nester,” she brings her experience raising two children with her wherever she goes. B ETH FR EDERI CKS

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THE LEARNING LANDSCAPE

Get a Jump Start It’s never too early to start charting the course! By Beth Fredericks, M.Ed.

ENCOURAGE YOUR CHILD TO: 

 et to know the school’s guidance counselor. G Guidance counselors play a big role in the college search process and by developing a good relationship with them early on, they will be able to help when it’s needed down the line.



 tart talking about college and careers and explore S different interests and options.  Enroll in the appropriate college-prep and tech-prep courses. Take a foreign language. Get off to a good start, grade-wise. Take advantage of career-day opportunities. Get involved in extracurricular activities.

• HELPFUL HINT If your child is still in high school, it’s not too early to start preparing; especially in freshman year. While you do not need to make any decisions as to where they will go to school or what they will study, it is a very good idea to start familiarizing them with the college search process so they know how it works.

Continue or begin a savings plan for college. 

 tart researching different colleges and S get a feel for all of your different options. Visit friends and relatives that are in school.



 heck out different summer C enrichment programs.

PRINT

Visit StudentAdvisor.com and try College Match.

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The Other

“BIG TALK” 7 Easy Steps to Starting the College Conversation

T

By Beth Fredericks, M.Ed.

alking about college with your children has got to be easier than talking about sex or drugs, but at least those conversations are on the parental to-do list. Discussing educational choices isn’t even on some parents’ radar. If you want your children to go to college, it’s best to introduce the topic sooner, rather than later. How can they know what they want if they aren’t aware of the possibilities? From the small, local community college to the largest state university, there’s an educational setting where your offspring will thrive. Here are seven steps to help you start talking to your kids about college.

1. START EARLY.

A friend recalls the secret grin she got from her toddler when, on a long ago visit to my friend’s leafy, all-women alma mater, she whispered in her daughter’s ear, “Only you can go here, not your brothers.” It must have made an impact, because her daughter graduated from that same college this year. It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about college.

2. POINT OUT COLLEGES.

Is there one close by? Talk about what goes on there. Attend a sports or theatrical event on campus. Barbara Cooke, the author of Parent’s Guide to College and Careers: How to Help, Not Hover (Jist Works, 2010) says, “Show them, don’t tell them. More kids have been inspired about attending college by watching a play, attending a robotics contest, or cheering for a local college football team. Some of the best conversations can happen when

you take your children to activities on a college campus.”

3. LAUNCH THE FIRST FRANK CONVERSATION BEFORE NINTH GRADE.

Kids swept up in the social and academic transition to high school may be oblivious to what happens four years in their future. It’s up to you to spell it out. “Everything you do starting now — in school, after school, and on the weekends — counts towards what you do after high school.” No matter which post-high school choice your child makes, the people accepting or hiring them will pay attention to what they do from ninth grade on.

4. ENLIST ALLIES.

Lots of kids tune out anything that comes out of a parent’s mouth. Here’s where the village comes in, reinforcing your message. Your child’s best champion should be the high school guidance counselor. Make sure they talk about the classes your student is taking, his favorite activities. Encourage other adults — parents of your kid’s friends, favorite uncles, and teachers — to discuss college expectations with your kid.

5. GET SERIOUS WITH SOPHOMORES.

Second year students start to narrow their choices of classes and explore more extracurricular activities. In her book, The Truth About Getting In (Hyperion, 2002), the CEO and founder of IvyWise and ApplyWise.com, Katherine Cohen, lays out a monthly college planning calendar that begins sophomore year. Do you

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THE OTHER “BIG” TALK know what a brag sheet is? Talk to your child about where they can take the lead in clubs, and what volunteer work they can do.

6. FALL OF JUNIOR YEAR.

Your student is now an upperclassman, halfway done with high school. She should be moving towards making a decision about what to do after graduation. The headline here is,

“IT’S TIME TO CHANGE GEARS FROM PASSIVE TO ACTIVE!”

All students who are thinking about going to college should take the Practice Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). Your high school should assist with the nuts and bolts of applying to college, but plan on being as much of a help as your child will allow. For example, invite your son or daughter out to lunch to talk about whether they can imagine living far away or want to be close by, go to a large school or small school, in the city or in the country? Take a virtual college tour online, or plan a real trip to visit campuses. Significant conversations can occur during the long drives from school to school.

7. DISCUSS FINANCIAL ISSUES.

Can you pay? Have generous grandparents set aside a college fund? Will your child have to finance his own education? Do you know about FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)? If the cost of tuition is not in the bank already, there are many alternatives for patching together money for college. It’s helpful for your student to know about the financing of her education so she can think about whether she can study and work, go away to school, or should consider a college close by. HINT: READ OUR SCHOLARSHIP GUIDE. Recently I overheard some young people say, “In our town, everyone goes to college — it’s just what people do.” In some towns, that’s probably true; but today, with college tuition skyrocketing, the job market still a bust, and big money to be made designing websites when you’re still in high school, the options are endless. Try asking your teenagers the toddler question — “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Amazing answers will show you the way.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?...”


THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE

Your Teen Applies to College By Katherine Cohen, CEO and Founder of IvyWise and ApplyWise.com, and author of The Truth About Getting In and Rock Hard Apps. 1.) STUDENTS MUST MAKE AN IMPACT.

Colleges are not looking for “jacks of all trades.” Applicants who are consistent in their commitment to a handful of activities or are specialists within a particular field have an advantage over serial club-joiners who show no leadership or dedication. Request a list of the extracurricular activities that are available to your child at their high school. If the school doesn’t offer a program that matches your teen’s interest, then help him or her research additional activities that may be available through your local community.

2.) R ELATIONSHIPS WITH GUIDANCE

COUNSELORS & TEACHERS COUNT.

Colleges usually require letters of recommendation from a student’s guidance counselor and junior or senior year teachers in academic subjects. Encourage your child to make an effort to build relationships early on with these individuals.

3.) S UMMERS BEFORE COLLEGE SHOULD BE SPENT WISELY. It’s

important for students to make the most out of their time both inside and outside of the classroom. Tanning on the beach all summer will not impress an admissions committee! Your teen should spend the summers pursuing his or her talents and interests. Your child can take college-level classes, participate in multi-week programs in an area of interest, join a community service organization, or get an internship or summer job. Check with your teen’s guidance counselor to see if the high school has any partnerships or recommendations for summer opportunities.

4.) T  HERE IS MORE THAN ONE STANDARDIZED TEST OPTION.

Many colleges accept either the ACT or SAT. Your teen should meet with his or her high school guidance counselor to review the format and content of each exam and select the one that plays to his or her academic strengths. If your child isn’t a good test taker, he or she may want to consider the more than 800 four-year colleges that are test-optional found at www.FairTest.org.

5.) F  RESHMEN NEED A FOUR-YEAR PLAN. If your child is a high school freshman, start by

planning a visit with his or her school guidance counselor to chart out the academic programs your student will take over the next four years. Based on your child’s abilities, your child should plan to take the most challenging courses available in every subject. (SEE THE TOP QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR )

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BEFORE YOU APPLY

6.) C  REATE A BALANCED LIST OF “GOOD FIT” COLLEGES.

Don’t choose a school based solely on its reputation and prestige. Work with your child’s high school guidance counselor to identify colleges that are a “good fit” for your teen academically, socially, and financially. Be sure to include colleges that are academic reach, target, and safety schools. Incorporate a mix of private schools, as well as more affordable schools like state schools and public universities.

7.) STUDENTS MUST BE EXPERTS ON THE COLLEGES THEY ARE APPLYING TO.

Admissions officers and interviewers seek candidates who are good matches for their college. Applicants who know details about a college’s academic and social culture are usually reviewed favorably. For example, students should know the names of specific courses and professors with whom they want to study. To aid in this, your teen can ask the guidance counselor to put him or her in touch with a former graduate from the high school who is now attending the college your student is considering.

8.) T  UITION ISN’T THE ONLY EXPENSE TO CONSIDER.

While many families budget for college tuition and other costs of attending college, they often forget to budget for applying to college. Even before the first application is submitted, you can expect to spend a lot on standardized test fees, standardized test preparation, independent counselors, books, visiting college campuses and application fees. A free application budget calculator is available to families at www.ApplyWise.com/budget.

“Take a step back and be sure to listen to your child’s thoughts with an open mind as he or she researches colleges.” 9.) C  AMPUS VISITS CAN BE TELLING.

Plan on visiting the colleges your child is seriously considering. A campus visit gives your teen the opportunity to learn more about the college, while connecting with current students and getting a better feel for the school’s atmosphere. Visit as a family, with other students from your child’s high school, or arrange an overnight for your child with a current college freshman. Be sure your child attends both the official information session and the campus tour, as this demonstrates your child’s interest in the college and is the best way to make the most of the visit.

10.) “WE” ARE NOT APPLYING. Remember,

the college admissions process is about your child. Take yourself out of it as much as possible, other than being your child’s cheerleader and encouraging your teen every step of the way. Take a step back and be sure to listen to your child’s thoughts with an open mind as he or she researches colleges. Don’t fill out the applications or write the essays for your child. You may think you’re being helpful, or doing him or her a favor, but your child needs to have his or her own voice shine through.

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POPULAR DEGREES

Thinking Ahead... Will There Be a Job?

FASTEST GROWING OCCUPATIONS

% GROWTH

PAY POTENTIAL

Biomedical Engineers

72.02%

$$$$

Network Systems and Data Communication Analysts

53.36%

$$$$

Home Health Aides

50.01%

$

Personal and Home Care Aides

45.99%

$

Financial Examiners

41.16%

$$$$

Medical Scientists

39.30%

n/a

Physician Assistants

38.99%

$$$$

Skin Care Specialists

37.86%

$$

Biochemists and Biophysicists

37.42%

$$$$

Athletic Trainers

36.95%

$$$

Physical Therapist Aides

36.29%

n/a

Dental Hygienists

36.14%

$$$$

Veterinary Technologists & Technicians

35.77%

$$

Dental Assistants

35.75%

$$

Physical Therapist Assistants & Aides

34.54%

$$

Computer Software Engineers, Applications

34.01%

$$$$

Medical Assistants

33.90%

$$

Occupational & Physical Therapist Assistants & Aides

33.45%

n/a

Physical Therapist Assistants

33.28%

$$$

Veterinarians

32.95%

$$$$

Source: Bureau of Labors Statistics Occupational Employment Projections to 2018 published in the November 2009 Monthly Labor Review.

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PAYING FOR IT

F

inding a way to pay for your child’s education can be a nerve wracking process, but we’ve gathered lots of comprehensive, easy to read information to help you on your way. Our Student Loan Guide will walk you through the different types of loans available, while our Scholarship Secrets Guide will open your eyes to the world of educational grants and scholarships. We’ve assembled the most up-to-date information so you don’t have to! Before you browse these incredibly helpful guides, take a few minutes and read what our experts have to say about the process of finding money. Mos t c olleges and universities offer merit or non-need-based scholarships to academically talented students. Students should check with each school in which they’re interested for the criteria for merit scholarships.

1

2

The Nat ional Merit Scholarship Program awards scholarships to students based upon academic merit. The awards can be applied to any college or university to meet educational expenses at that school.

M a ny s t a t e s o f f e r scholarship assistance to academically talented students. Students should obtain the eligibility criteria from their state’s education office.

3

4 Many schools offer scholarships to athletically talented students. Parents and students should be careful, however, to weigh the benefits of an athletic scholarship against the demands of this type of award.

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PAYING FOR IT

5

7

Some colleges and universities offer special grants or scholarships to students with particular talents. Music, journalism, and drama are a few categories for which these awards are made.

Some students choose to attend a community college for one or two years, and then transfer to a fouryear school. Tuition costs are substantially lower at community colleges than at four-year institutions.

A state college or university charges lower fees to state residents. Since public institutions are subsidized by state revenues, their tuition costs are lower than private schools’ costs. The college selec tion process should include consideration of a state school. Although cost should be a consideration, students should not base their choice of a school only on cost.

Some parents may be financially able to purchase a house while their child is in school. If other students rent rooms in the house, the income may offset monthly mortgage payments. Families should make cer t ain , however, that the property they purchase meets all of the requirements of rental property. If you have any questions, consult a tax professional.

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Many schools provide lists of housing opportunities that provide free room and board to students in exchange for a certain number of hours of work each week. Commuting is another way for students to reduce college costs. A student living at home can save as much as $6,000 per year.

10

Cooperative education programs allow students to alternate between working full time and studying full time. This type of employment program is not based upon financial need, and students can earn as much as $7,000 per year.

11 Another way to reduce college costs is to take fewer credits. Students should find out their school’s policy regarding the Advanced Placement Program (APP), the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and the Provenience Examination Program (PEP). Under these programs, a student takes an examination in a particular subject and, if the score is high enough, receives college credit.

12 Some colleges give credit for life experiences, thereby reducing the number of credits needed for graduation. Students should check with the college for further information. You can also write to Distance Education and Training Council at 1601 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009, or call (202) 234-5100.

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Negotiating Financial Aid By Kristen Campbell, the Director of College Preparation Programs for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.

S

et your child up for success early. Before the scholarship search begins, which is typically in junior or senior year, be sure your child is set up to earn merit-based scholarships. Deserving students generally have solid grades and good SAT and ACT scores, and are involved in school activities. Get your child in the learning zone early! Encourage them to be involved at school and to take on leadership roles. By positioning them for success as early as you can, they’ll be in great shape when the time comes to apply for scholarships.

of just finding scholarships versus worrying that your child may not qualify for them. The sooner you can uncover scholarship opportunities, the better prepared your child can be, and when junior and senior year come around, the process will be much, much easier.

Don’t wait until your child’s senior year to start looking. For many kids, senior year is a mad scramble to find and apply for scholarships while applying to college. That, coupled with the fact that their grades might not be the best or their SAT scores could have been better, doesn’t allow them the time to improve their test scores or get involved in more activities. Guide your child to begin thinking about the scholarship process as a freshman. That way, it becomes a matter

Sign up for scholarship alerts on FastWeb.com; it’s a free scholarship site and is really a robust database of available scholarships. There’s a lengthy questionnaire that is designed to compile all characteristics about your child, including background and academic abilities. The questionnaire includes questions about test scores, grades, and activities, ethnic and religious affiliations. This information is then run through the FastWeb database, and over time, as your child moves through each grade and new scholarships come into the system, FastWeb will push out emails to you letting

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LOOK EVERYWHERE. Start with your place of employment and your place of worship. Many smaller companies or non-profits may not have the means to market their scholarships widely; overlooking them may leave precious scholarship dollars on the table.


NEGOTIATING FINANCIAL AID you know that a new scholarship is available. Negotiating Financial Aid When you are just looking at colleges, stop by the financial aid office. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the process and introduce yourself and your child to the financial aid officer there so they understand your story, why your kid loves the school so much, and anything from a financial need situation that they might need to know. Financial aid officers typically don’t hear from anyone until they’re upset, or until they haven’t gotten the package they need. While financial aid officers genuinely want to help,

would be to do nothing. Make sure the financial aid office knows if anything has changed. Now is not the time to be modest; now is not the time to be embarrassed. You want to be as honest as possible if you or your spouse has lost their job or if a drastic health issue resulted in big hospital bills. The financial aid office cannot help if they don’t know about these situations. They know it’s tough, and they will try everything they can to accommodate families that are in that situation. Consider the power of negotiation. Remind your child that the goal of financial

“G ET YOUR CHILD IN THE LEARNING ZONE EARLY!” they’re continually dealing with problems and there’s a limited amount of money. That’s why being familiar with your situation already and being able to put a face with a name may help your case if the offer you get back doesn’t turn out as you hoped. Inform your college that you need more financial help. Don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do after your child’s package has been sent out. There are no guarantees, but the worst thing you could do

KRISTEN CAMPBELL

DIR. OF COLLEGE PREP PROGRAMS, KAPLAN TEST PREP AND ADMISSIONS

5 NEGOTIATION TIPS THAT WILL LAST A LIFETIME Arming your child with some basic negotiating techniques will help relieve the emotional stress of the financial aid process now and stand them in good stead throughout their adult lives.

1. Present

your case in person. Face-to-face contact is a must when you’re asking anyone for money, whether it’s today’s college funding or tomorrow’s pay raise.

2. Bring written backup. It sounds overly simple, but it’s a

crucial detail that gets ignored at your peril. The information the school requires should be organized, and the case should be clearly outlined. Your child should visit the financial aid officer fully prepared.

3. Arrive on time. This one should be obvious, but you’d be

aid is to help students pay for school, but it’s also a recruiting tool. For colleges, being able to offer really attractive scholarship and financial aid packages is an important point of differentiation from other institutions. If your child wants to go to their school but there are some financial struggles involved, go back to the school and ask for additional help. If they want your child, and the money is available, they will do everything they can to make that happen. Here, respectful persistence is the key.

surprised how often people think being five or ten or 15 minutes late to an appointment is fine. When it comes to securing financing, being late is a sign of disrespect that can prove costly in the long run.

4. Be clear and articulate. Nothing stops a negotiation in its tracks like pointless rambling. Stay on point, be clear, and answer questions as directly as possible.

5. Be polite, and leave a good impression. The expression

“attracting more bees with honey than with vinegar” is especially true when negotiating financial transactions. Financial aid officers take a lot of heat with other students and their parents, so students who arrive with their case organized and present it with a cool head and a pleasant demeanor are likely to have a more positive experience.

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Staying Connected With Your Child Away @ CollegeY By Beth Fredericks, M.Ed.

h, t a e r b p e e d a “Take out and let hug it o” them g H - BET

FRED

KS, ERIC

D. M. E

G R I K I NI A T S S K RIC EAST AS R E D EO F H T BE SE IN S UTH A PO

ou’ve had other experiences separating from your child — at kindergarten, camp, or sending him off to visit a relative or ex-spouse alone for the first time. But leaving home for college may be one of the most emotional moments for any parent yet — filled with excitement and anticipation, and an acute sense of loss. Here are some tips that may help you and your college student stay connected while they’re away.

KISS THEM GOOD-BYE

Most parents describe the days leading up to their child’s departure as intensely emotional. Whether you are tearing up occasionally, planning a final family dinner, or the siblings are arguing over which Wii games stay home or go, you should be careful not to assume that your child or other family members are feeling the same way. Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt, authors of The Launching Years, say, “A useful guideline is to avoid the extremes: during a child’s final days at home parents should, for example, resist possessiveness, refrain from guilttripping their child into something they don’t want to do, and avoid generating a drawn-out emotive display. If a parent’s emotions are running extremely strong, containing some of it can be a real kindness to the child.” Take a deep breath, hug it out, and let them go.

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STAYING CONNECTED

BETH & HER DAUG HTER MAE @ CHRI STMA S

BET C E L E BH & H E R H GR AD R ATE WITUSBAND UATE D S O NH N E W L Y , WILL

MANAGE EXPECTATIONS

When many parents went to school, a weekly call home on Sundays was usual, primarily determined by long distance rates. According to a recent survey, college kids today are in contact with home by cell phone or email an average of 10 times a week. Barbara K. Hofer, professor of psychology at Middlebury College and co-author, with Abby Sullivan Moore, of The iConnected Parent: Staying Close to Your Kids in College (and Beyond) While Letting Them Grow Up (Free Press, 2010), advises laying the groundwork before your kid leaves for college. She says, “Have a conversation about how often you want to talk, how you want to communicate, and when this is best for both of you.”

SELECT THE TECH THAT FITS YOU BEST

Sorting out the best methods of communication with your student can be confusing. You may be used to calling their cell phone and leaving a message or simply texting a short “call me.” Instant messaging is available on Google, Facebook, and AIM; which one does your child use most? Parents of students studying overseas swear by Skype, which allows you to see and hear your child via webcams. There’s no charge and it works anywhere. You need to figure out which option fits your family the best.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

The big question remains — how often do you talk? Every day? Once a week? When the spirit moves you? Experimenting might be the best way to go. Ask your child what might be a good time to check in. More isn’t necessarily better. Professor Hofer found that those kids “who are in the highest frequency of communication and whose parents are continuing to regulate their behavior and academics are the least autonomous and least satisfied with the college experience and their relationship with parents.” Whatever kooky ringtone your child has designated for your calls, when they hear it, you don’t want them ducking it like the whoosh whoosh whoosh of a helicopter blade. College is their venue for entering adulthood, and you can not, nor should you, micromanage their experience. Here are some subjects that may come up, and some tips for handling them:

MONEY

A lot of those calls home will open, or end, with your kid asking for money. One way for you to stay on top of her spending patterns is to open a bank account that enables you to monitor her transactions and make deposits online. Together you can fine tune the budget by determining if your kid is spending more or less than you anticipated. Boys don’t automatically pick up the check

PAR E NTS S U RVIVAL G U I DE • STU DE NTADVISOR.COM •

23


these days; and prices are higher than & W I LDLA Y H T E B in your youth. ATION C o n s i d e r GR ADU depositing a set amount in their account every month, or a lump sum for the entire academic year. Some parents require a call whenever funds are low, which may guarantee more contact with your child, but keep them from developing financial and emotional independence. If you start to feel more like a bank than a parent, a frank discussion is warranted. Enjoy those times they call just to chat, and not to ask for money.

ACADEMICS

Though you are footing the bill, the college may not tell you how your child is doing. Privacy issues could prevent the administration from sending home a report card unless your child specifically authorizes it. So academics are a good topic to address. Ask about their goals for the current year. Are classes tougher or easier than they expected? Are they experimenting with course selections? What subject is a revelation? Which professor is a snooze?

EXTRACURRICULARS

College is about so much more than classes. There are roommates, clubs, sports — and, yes, sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. How much are you going to pry about their social lives? Perhaps sharing stories of your own shenanigans will make your kid feel more comfortable about opening up. You don’t want to be the inquisitor, but rather the confidant available to listen to anything. Make sure they know that you want to hear from them whether they have good news or just want someone to listen.


STAYING CONNECTED

“Listen carefully to your child and acknowledge their new expertise, passion and know-how” BETH & FAMI LY SOUT H EAST ASIA

When you are faced with any of these inevitable phone calls, Lori Tenser, Dean of First-Year Students at Wellesley College, suggests that parents say things such as: “Wow, that sounds like a challenging problem; what will you do about it? Or, who on campus is there to help you with that? How can I be supportive while you figure out what to do?”

VISIT

If you are not too far away, a great way to stay in touch is by visiting in person. You will earn lots of brownie points for showing up. If your child is playing sports try to make as many games as you can. If they are performing in concerts or shows, plan to attend.

SEND PRESENTS

Just like when you left “secret messages” in her lunch box in elementary school, college students love cards, gifts, and “care packages” from home. You can send home-baked cookies, rolls of quarters, photos of the family pet, or a commercial birthday bash kit. I have a friend who contacted her local temple to send her kids Hanukkah-in-a-box. These small efforts will reassure your child that he is still connected to home and to you, and that staying in touch is important.

REACH OUT

for a holiday, especially if they live too far away to travel home. Learn the phone number of your kid’s favorite college pizza outfit and have food delivered to the dorm during exams. Most of all, listen carefully to your child and acknowledge their new expertise, passion, and know-how. You are not just staying connected to the child you raised, but getting to know the adult they are becoming.

NEXT STEPS For more information on College, advice on the who’s, what’s, where’s and when’s, please refer to our Guidance Counselor Guide for the inside scoop from some of the top GC’s in the Country:

N U EAR R E YO HE MO ARN, T OU LE ORE Y THE M

SOR DENTADVI WWW.STU

STUDENTADVISOR.COM’S GUIDANCE COUNSELOR GUIDE, NAVIGATING COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

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NATION S S FROM THE SELOR ADVICE IDA NCE COUN TOP GU

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THE THI NGS ETS PAM PHL L YOU DON’T TEL

STRATEGIES ENT FOR STUD SUCCESS

Try to get to know your child’s new roommates and friends by more than name. If you live close by, invite them to your house

.COM

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10 HELPFU HINTS

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E BEST ADVIC ES FOR FAMILI SURVIVING E LEG THE COL N TRANSITIO

TOP 10

NS QUESTIOST YOU MU ASK E ANC YOUR GUIDLOR COUNSE

PAR E NTS S U RVIVAL G U I DE • STU DE NTADVISOR.COM •

25


HIGH SCHOOL

FRESHMAN

SAVE THESE DATES

H.S. Freshman Seasonal College Prep Calendar { PR I N T TH IS PAG E}

FALL H.S. FRESHMAN Get to know your guidance counselor. See our Guidance Counselor Guide 10 questions you must ask Guidance counselors play a big role in the college search process and by developing a good relationship with them early on, they will be able to give you help when you need it.

SPRING H.S. FRESHMAN Take a foreign language.

Continue or begin a savings plan for college.

WINTER H.S. FRESHMAN Start talking about college and careers and explore your different interests and options. *Try College Match on StudentAdvisor.com Take advantage of career day opportunities. Start researching different colleges and get a feel for all of your different options.

Make sure that you enroll in the appropriate college-prep and tech-prep courses. Get involved in extracurricular activities.

SUMMER H.S. FRESHMAN Visit friends and relatives that are in  school. Check out different summer enrichment  programs. Talk to your parents about planning for  college expenses.

ADVICE “ Don’t give up on school because it costs too much; financial aid may be available.” Brad MacGowan, Dir. of the College Counselling Center at Newton North High School in Newton , Massachusetts

PR I N T T HI S PA GE


H.S. Sophomore Seasonal College Prep Calendar { PR I N T T HI S PA GE }

FALL H.S. SOPHOMORE

SPRING

 sk your guidance counselor about the A American College Testing program’s PLAN (Pre-ACT) assessment program. This test will prepare you for the ACT and will help determine your study habits and academic progress and interests.

H.S. SOPHOMORE Ask your guidance counselor about  Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Continue to explore your interests and any careers you think you might like. Consider which type of school you would like to attend. For example, do you want to go to a 2 or 4 year school? Large or small? If you are interested in attending a military academy, start gathering information about different military schools.

 ake geometry, biology, and another year T of foreign language.

Contact colleges to ask for academic  requirements for admissions.

 P articipate programs.

Visit a few college campuses.

in

career

development

Attend college fairs. tart to look at college entrance S requirements and make sure you are on track to meet these requirements.

Take SAT Subject Tests in the courses that you took this year. They are offered in May and June, so since the material is fresh in your mind, it could be a good time to take them.

WINTER H.S. SOPHOMORE alk to your guidance counselor about T your PSAT scores.  Become involved in community service and volunteer activities.  ork towards leadership positions in the W activities that you like best. Read as many books as you can!  Work on your writing skills by getting advice from your teachers or other adults.

SUMMER H.S. SOPHOMORE Get a summer job to help save money for school.

ADVICE “ Ivy League schools are top rate institutions, true, but the best college match for you may not be a “name” school.” Rhonda Rivera, Co-Founder of Top-Tier Tutoring in West Orange, New Jersey. PR I N T T HI S PA GE

SOPHOMORES

ake the Preliminary SAT/National Merit T Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/ NMSQT) in October to practice for the SAT. When you fill out your test sheet, you have the option to check a box that releases your name to colleges. Check this box if you want to start receiving information from different schools.

HIGH SCHOOL

S AVE THESE DATES


JUNIORS

SAVE THESE DATES

H.S. Junior Seasonal College Prep Calendar

FALL H.S. JUNIOR Meet with your guidance counselor to review the courses you’ve taken and what you still need to take. Print out 20 Q’s to ask your Guidance Counselor. Check your class rank. If you haven’t already taken the PSAT, take it now. Or, if you want more practice, take it again!  ake sure that you have a social security M number. Use StudentAdvisor.com’s College Match to compile a list of colleges that meet your most important criteria. Factors to consider include size, location, majors, academic rigor, additional learning opportunities, cost of tuition, etc. Weigh each of the factors according to their important to you.  ontinue to visit any college fairs hosted in C your area.

HIGH SCHOOL

{ PR I N T T H ESE PAG ES}

Speak to college representatives who visit your high school. If you are interested in participating in Division I or II college sports, start the certification process. You will want to check with your guidance counselor to make sure that you are taking a core curriculum that meets NCAA requirements. If you are interested in attending a military academy, you will need to start the application process now.

WINTER H.S. JUNIOR Read reviews of possible college choices Take note of the application procedures, entrance requirements, tuition and fees, and room and board costs of the schools that you are most interested in.

Discuss your PSAT score with your  guidance counselor. Consider enrolling in SAT prep classes or tutoring to improve your score. Begin to narrow down your college  choices. Find out if the schools you are interested in require SAT I, ACT Assessment, or SAT II subject tests for admission. Register for the ACT Assessment if it is required by the schools you are interested in applying to. This test can be taken in April or June. Start studying for the tests that you need to take! Talk to your parents about the schools that you are interested in. Talk to your parents about financial  resources and gather information about financial aid Organize all of the information you have  collected so that you have it all in one place.


H.S. JUNIOR Your senior year will be just as important as your junior year, and will certainly not be a good time to slack off. Make sure you get plenty of rest over the summer so that you are fully prepared to finish your high school career stronger than ever. Also, you should:

SPRING H.S. JUNIOR

Visit the campuses of your top five  college choices. After each college interview, send a thankyou letter to the interviewer. Talk to people who you know have attended the colleges that you are interested in.

 egister to take the ACT Assessment and/ R or SAT I.

Read the student reviews for the schools that you are interested in.

 tart thinking about your college admittance S essay. Talk to you guidance counselor or English teacher about any ideas you may have.

Practice filling out college applications.

 tay involved and active in your extracurricular S activities.  tart to think about who you will get to write S your college recommendations. You could ask a teacher who knows you well, or a coach, activity leader, or another adult whom you work with outside if school.  ontact the schools you are most interested C in to inquire about personal interviews. If a school offers appointments for personal interviews, schedule an appointment for early summer and make all of the necessary travel arrangements.

Compose rough drafts of your college  application essays. Have a teacher read and discuss with you your college application essays. Make any necessary changes to your  essays, and then proofread your final essays at least three times! Prepare to apply for financial aid (links to guide). Take note of financial aid sources, requirements for each application, and financial aid application deadlines.

Apply for a summer job or internship.  e prepared to pay for college application, B financial aid, and testing fees in the fall.  equest applications from the schools that R you are interested in. You can do this by mail or via the Internet.

{ PR I N T T HE SE PA GE S}

JUNIORS

 ake sure that you will meet all graduation M requirements.

HIGH SCHOOL

SUMMER


SENIORS

S AVE THESE DATES

H.S. Senior Seasonal College Prep Calendar { PR I N T T H ESE PAG ES}

FALL H.S. SENIOR Continue to take a full load of college-prep courses.  ake sure that you have the courses M necessary to graduate in the spring.

Register and take the ACT Assessment,  SAT I, or SAT II Subject tests, as necessary.

Keep your grades up!  C ontinue to participate in your extracurricular and volunteer activities and have fun with them!

Make sure to request that your test scores are sent to the colleges of your choice. If you have the time, visit colleges while classes are in session.

I f you are a male student, you must register for selective service on your eighteenth birthday to be eligible for federal and state financial aid.

Remember that if you want to apply for a ROTC scholarship, applications are due December 1!

 ake a calendar showing all of your M application deadlines for admission, financial aid, and scholarships.

Make photocopies of all of the applications that you send out to keep track of everything that you have submitted.

 heck out StudentAdvisor.com’s College C Grant and Scholarship Guide to learn more about available college funding.

HIGH SCHOOL

Give your school report forms to your high school’s guidance office at least 2 weeks before they are due. Fill in the top with your name and contact information, and verify with your guidance counselor the schools to which transcripts, test scores, and letters are to be sent.

 sk colleges about scholarships for which A you may qualify.  ive your college recommendation forms G to the teachers that you have chosen, along with self-addressed, stamped envelopes so your teachers can send them directly to the colleges.

WINTER H.S. SENIOR Take advantage of any college-preparatory nights that are held at your school or by local organizations. Continue to focus on your school work and keep those grades up! Send your midyear grade reports to  colleges. Fill out the Free Application for Federal  Student Aid (FAFSA). For help, check out: How to Fill out the FAFSA . Forms won’t be processed until after the first of the year, so don’t send them in prior to January 1. Send out any remaining application and  financial aid forms before you go on winter break. Make sure that you have applied to at least one college where you know you will be accepted and you know you can afford. Meet with your guidance counselor to 


HIGH SCHOOL

make sure that all of your forms and applications have been sent out. Follow up with colleges to make sure that they have received all of the information you sent them including application info, recommendations and test scores.

SPRING H.S. SENIOR Check your mail regularly! Most college acceptance notifications and financial aid awards will arrive between March 1 and April 1.  ompare the different financial aid packages C that each school offers you. isit the campuses of the colleges that V have accepted you if you have not done so already.  Make your final choice and notify all schools of your intent by May 1.

 equest that your guidance counselor send R a final transcript to that college in June.  ake sure that you have received a FAFSA M acknowledgement. If you applied for a Pell Grant, via the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report statement. Review this statement and send it to the college you plan to attend. Just make a copy of it first!  omplete the rest of the paperwork required by C the college of your choice. This would include scheduling, orientation sessions, housing arrangements, and other necessary forms

GRADUATE! â˜ş

{ PR I N T T HE SE PA GE S}

SENIORS

 end your nonrefundable deposit to your S chosen school by May 1.


StudentAdvisor.com's Parent's College Survival Guide  

As parents, we try to make our children’s lives as joyous, productive, and successful as possible. At StudentAdvisor.com we are parents and...

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