Opportunities Through Education
Marcy Hamilton


FOR ADULTS ONLY!


INSIDER TIPS ON COLLEGE ADMISSIONS FOR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS


SAY THIS OVER AND OVER AGAIN:

THIS IS NOT ABOUT GETTING IN, BUT STAYING IN AND BEING HAPPY IN A COLLEGE THAT FITS MY CHILD’S NEEDS, NOT MINE


CONFIDENCE = PREPARATION


The more all of you know, the less stressful the process.

DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE BUZZ; KNOW THE TRUTH


ADMISSIONS IS A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY BETWEEN PARENTS AND CHILDREN

Help your child get to know him or herself well. Teens are “works in progress,” but the more they know their academic strengths and weaknesses, their interests and passions, their social selves, the better they will recognize the school that fits their needs.


Encourage your children to pursue interesting activities inside and outside of the classroom because interesting kids become interesting applicants for colleges. If they are talented athletes, visual or performing artists, make sure they have time to balance their academics with their talents. If they have special needs, make sure the colleges have academic support.


Believe in test prep!

SAT scores and SAT Subject test scores are corroborating evidence of your child’s academic strengths. Poor scores will eliminate your child from a numbers-only public admission pool. Know that the UC’s look at gpas in the 10th and 11th grade only, no plusses and minuses, and they have subject requirements for admission.


Take your child to see his or her safety school first. The best way to visit a campus is to visit a class and see the fit.  Visit private colleges before applying to them; it’s called "demonstrating interest.” Visit again after acceptance to make the overnight 10PM test to help make final decisions.




If you have concerns about the cost of a college education, it is wise to discuss the economics with your child so that he or she understands the costs of a college education. Do, however, educate yourself on the difference between public and private colleges, the basics of financial aid, if you need to apply for it, and the often-unknown value of securing merit money for your good student.


Your best source of info about financial aid is the college financial aid officer. Many colleges have given up being need-blind. Even if they are, they may not meet 100% of your child’s demonstrated need. This is called gapping.



If you child is a stellar candidate, make sure he or she applies to some well-endowed not-so-selective schools. They may give a favorable financial aid package, if you qualify. Even if you don’t, colleges may woo your child with merit money to attract him or her from the Ivy League.


The chunk of aid money for colleges comes from the colleges themselves. Apply, even if you don’t believe you qualify, because loan programs often require the family be denied before they will offer low interest unsubsidized loans. Apply to both private and public colleges. If you qualify, it may cost you as little to send your kid to Princeton as to CAL.



If you have a 2.7 GPA kid/1000 (out of 1600) SAT score, there are plenty of good schools that your child can get into. If your child must attend a Megastate, encourage attendance to an Honors College or special program to have a better microclimate in which to learn.



If possible, avoid transferring. Find a good fit for your child, have him or her go there and get a degree. CSUs are great training grounds of the job market. UCs are better grad schools than undergrad. Beware the TA, the hassle. Know what the average “progress to degree” is.  Private colleges take 4 yrs to complete. Publics may take 5-6 yrs. Use arithmetic when figuring out your child’s total cost of college. 4 times 40K=$160,000, 6 times 25K=$150,000, not counting the 2yrs of having a child not earning money to pay back his or her or your loans. Check on the retention rate of any school your child is applying to. Knowing how many Freshmen return second yr is a great indicator of student satisfaction.


It is not heresy to say your child wants to get a degree that will command a job in this economy. Encourage your child to develop reading, writing, and speaking and computing skills and encourage him or her to be flexible and entrepreneurial.  Uncertainty is a fact of life and security is never a given.



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