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When the Letter Arrives: What to Do About College Decisions (page 2)

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Updated on Apr 17, 2014

 If your teen winds up with a choice of schools...

To make their final decision, collect all relevant information to make sure that you are making fair comparisons. For example, you need to compare:

  • Financial Aid awards- they may change over four years so meet with a financial aid officer and ask questions
  • Academic offerings, even in programs that you may not be interested in. Chances are you may change your major, so can your college offer you opportunities that may be of interest to you in the future
  • Unique opportunities- explore what makes one campus different from another: How are the resources on campus? How is the academic advising? Career counseling? Alumni network?
  • Campus culture—do you feel that you can be part of that student body?
  • Surrounding community- you’ll be living there for four years, so explore resources off campus. Everything from restaurants, movie theaters, places to work or do community service
  • Location- campuses are always pretty in April. Do you like the weather in January? Also, how far do you want to be away from home?

Once your child has done the research, then ask her to follow his or her gut. Your child needs to imagine herself there for the next four years. Hopefully, your child knows a lot about her colleges at this point. Parents should provide advice when asked. Do not steer your child toward your favorite school or your alma mater. You won’t be attending the college, your child will!

No matter what the options, the college decision process is an emotionally stressful time for your teen. Cohen says teens should be reminded that they can be happy and successful at many colleges. "There is not only ONE college match for your child. Besides, college is what you make of the experience,” she says. Besides, reacting to setbacks (and moving on) is part of becoming an adult. And when your child sets out on her own path next year, that's exactly what she'll be.

ApplyWise.com is an online college counseling program that helps students create a winning college application.  It is based on the methodology of Katherine Cohen, PhD., one of the country's leading admissions counselors and founder and CEO of IvyWise, the country's leading private college counseling company based in New York City.

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