Our to-do list for selecting a college

Choosing the right college can be a challenge. My senior has been working for a few weeks to compile a list of potential colleges and relevant information, to help him make the decision.

A lot of parents and their teens struggle to know how to choose the right college, so I thought I would share the process we use to choose the right school:

  1. Check for the senior’s most updated GPA (either through the school’s web page or by calling the school counselor).
  2. Obtain the senior’s SAT or ACT score (collegeboard.org for the SAT or act.org for the ACT test).
  3. Help your senior choose a list of 5-10 schools that admit students within your senior’s GPA and SAT scores, with a few “for sure” schools and a few “reach” schools.
  4. List tuition, housing and the total cost of attendance for each school (go to each school’s website to gather this information).
  5. Check the Western Undergraduate Exchange to see if any of the potential colleges offer discounted tuition for out-of-state students, and check the requirements.
  6. Check each school for potential scholarships.
  7. Check each school’s application costs (usually around $50 each) and application requirements (some schools require an essay and/or letters of recommendations).
  8. Check each school for early application deadlines (sometimes applying early can help students who have borderline GPA/SAT numbers get admitted). The deadline for early applications is usually Nov. 1.
  9. Beginning Oct. 1, fill out the FASFA, regardless of your family’s financial status. Most schools require this information to determine tuition and scholarship information.
  10. List any other information that might be important to your family (hours from home, degrees or special programs, number of students on campus, weather, public transportation, school ranking).
  11. Create a “to do” list with appropriate deadlines and check the list regularly.

How do you help your senior apply for college? What factors are important to your family?


Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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