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:
- Check for the senior’s most updated GPA (either through the school’s web page or by calling the school counselor).
- Obtain the senior’s SAT or ACT score (collegeboard.org for the SAT or act.org for the ACT test).
- 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.
- List tuition, housing and the total cost of attendance for each school (go to each school’s website to gather this information).
- 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.
- Check each school for potential scholarships.
- Check each school’s application costs (usually around $50 each) and application requirements (some schools require an essay and/or letters of recommendations).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?