Yep, that's right. Take 2. Not only is Husbeast's baby girl headed off to college this fall, but his baby, baby girl is going to be a Senior this year! And she's already making college plans too!
The cool thing for her, is that we've figured a few things out as we've helped her sister get ready for college.
Her mom and I have visited about these things, and I've told her as well, what to watch for. That's what I wanted to do today...let you in on what we did right, wrong and in between, just in case you have a child getting ready to take on college next fall.
Tips for Parents and High School Seniors:
1. Watch the schedules- some colleges offer scholarships based on test scores and early application submissions. And by early, I mean December 1st, you want that application done and in. That seems a bit crazy, but when you look at some of the scholarships that may be available to your student, it might be worth it to apply to the top 5 on your list, just so you can later pick and choose based on what they offer.
2. More Deadlines and Hover Craft Parenting- some of you may have students who want to take on the college application process on their own. And that's awesome. Let them do as much as they possibly can, but hover a little. A missed deadline or a misread detail could mean the difference between attending a 4 year college of your student's choice, and attending a 2 year college just to establish residency. Read the fine print with them. Watch the deadlines with them. Make sure you are both clear on when things are due.
3. FAFSA Dates have changed - if you plan on applying for Federal Student Aid, they have changed the dates this year. You can look them up at https://fafsa.ed.gov/
Be sure you find the application deadlines for them as well. They are opening them up in October this year.
4. Get help from a college enrollment advisor - Trust me, you cannot bug them too much or ask them too many questions! They have experienced all levels of parents and they are awesome at what they do. Ask as many questions as possible and don't be worried about being a bother. They want your kid at their school and they want to make sure you are getting everything right in the process.
5. Visit Schools - Yeah the web sites help, but as is the case with Laynie, she doesn't know where she wants to go. But she and her mom visited several schools that gave her an idea of where she DOESN"T want to go and that can be just as valuable. They need to love the place they live. I keep telling her, "these next four years are truly yours, to go, do, be. So go where YOU want, not where you THINK your parents (all four of us) want you to be."
6. And yep, I'm saying, let them go - We all know as we become adults, that there are trips we should have taken, adventures we should have gone on, places we should have seen, before we settled down to the business of "adulting." So encourage your kiddo to do the same. They can't always go away and do this stuff, but they can always come home.
7. Invitations and Thank You Notes - Make them address their invitations properly and don't let them deposit any checks without sending a thank you note first.
8. Scholarships - apply, apply, apply. You just never know!
9. ACT and SAT - Take them both and take them both twice. The best scores are considered and the tests are different enough that one may be a better fit for your student's style than another. When your kiddo takes the test, make sure they enter the codes for their college(s) of choice and FAFSA.
10. Enjoy the process - it can be stressful, but it can be fun too. It's a learning experience for your senior as much as it is for you. Things are a bit different from when I was headed off to college, so I had an idea of what I was helping Kat with, but it was also different enough that I had to pay close attention to all the details I've mentioned to you. It's new. It's intimidating. It's exciting. It's a big leap. But enjoy it anyway.
11. Attend orientation - if the college offers the option for parents to attend, go. All four of us went with Kat to hers. They split us up into the students and parents groups, and the information they shared with each was valuable and different enough that there were things we were able to discuss with her and she could share with us. It really helped us as parents, get clear on what was expected of the students and how to let them take on responsibility, but also to make sure they are getting what they need.
So far, that is the best advice I can offer. As we head into Kat's freshamn year of college and Layne's senior year of high school, I'll keep taking notes. If you have a kiddo who is college bound and you have questions, please reach out to me! I'd be happy to help in any way I can!