Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Parents’ role in the college application process

Susan Alaimo, Contributor
Published 5:00 a.m. ET July 10, 2020

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Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway announced Monday that most fall semester courses will be offered remotely.

Bridgewater Courier News

Parents walk a fine line when it comes to their children and college applications. 

Getting too involved will earn the title of “helicopter parent.” Leaving everything to the student and hoping for the best – well, that’s quite risky! There is a healthy middle ground. The ideal role for parents is to help with research, provide informational opportunities and handle the financials.

Often, students feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start the college process, so parents should help identify colleges that may be an ideal match. The best way to start is by discussing what major might be of interest. Many students don’t know exactly what career they want to pursue, but they will likely know whether they are interested in science, business, engineering, education or the arts, for example.

READ: The valuable role of a private college counselor | College Connection

This knowledge alone will help to narrow down the research process. Together, parents and students can look up potential majors in College Board’s Book of Majors. Or they can visit www.collegescorecard.ed.gov which will identify every college that offers each major, as well as the average cost of attending the school and the average salary of its graduates.

Using this information, and combining it with preferred geographical location, size of school and any other criteria important to the student, will help to generate a list of potential “best-fit colleges.” Now it’s road trip time (if colleges are open) so parents and students can walk the campus, gather information and allow students to decide if they could picture themselves making this school their new home. Parents can also help students gather information by taking them to college fairs as well as to information seminars often hosted by colleges at local hotels.

READ: More than 900 colleges now accept the ‘Common App’ | College Connection

Of course, finances are often a key aspect of the college decision. Parents should file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible after Oct. 1 of their child’s senior year. They will immediately find out their EFC (estimated family contribution), letting them know what colleges expect them to contribute to their child’s education. This is the criteria that determines need-based aid. Parents should also seek scholarships from any organizations with which they are affiliated, including religious, social and work-related organizations. Once the available scholarships and financial aid have been determined, students will have a better idea of their options.   

Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of SAT Smart. For the past 25 years, SAT Smart’s Ivy League educated instructors have prepared students for the PSAT/SAT/ACT exams with preparation courses and private tutoring throughout Central Jersey. SAT Smart also offers private tutoring for subject tests, AP courses, and all high school subjects. Visit www.SATsmart.com, or call 908-369-5362.

Read or Share this story: https://www.mycentraljersey.com/story/news/education/college/2020/07/10/parents-role-college-application-process-college-connection/5391306002/

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