College Admission Process: Guide for Parents, and Books for Parents of College-Bound Students (page 5)
As a parent, you want the best for your child’s future. Planning should begin as early as middle school. If you wait until the junior or senior year of high school, you’ve waited too long. This brochure will help you and your child make the right decisions now, when it counts. The selection of a college––including the cost––is an important decision for the whole family. Going to college costs a lot; but if you need money, it is available, provided you plan ahead.
What is financial assistance?
Financial assistance is money to help pay for college. This money can be used for educational expenses (tuition, fees, and books), as well as for other expenses (food, housing, and transportation). Grants, loans, scholarships and work study are the four types.
Can I get financial assistance if my child doesn’t want to go to a four-year college?
Yes. Money is available for two-year community or junior colleges (as well as for business, vocational/trade schools). At schools that typically prepare students for transfer to a four-year college, such as a community college, ask for information about the transfer-out rate.
How is financial aid determined?
You must show that you need money to be awarded financial aid. Need is the difference between what it costs to attend college and what your family can afford to pay. Special talent and academic scholarships and grants are available at many institutions.
How can I find money for my child’s education?
The guidance counselor can direct you to resources to help you learn about applying for money for college. Don’t pay for guaranteed scholarships. You can begin to research financial aid as early as ninth grade. Don’t be misled by others. There are more students and families receiving financial assistance for education than you may think.
Using the Internet In Your College Search
The Internet is a great place for future college students to gather information about colleges. There are many Web sites that can help guide you through the college selection process. Some Web sites can help you prepare for, choose, apply and find ways to pay for a college education. Other sites require a fee before using their information, but most offer free
information. Colleges and university Web sites provide quite a bit of information about the admission process, student life, faculty and administrator info, weather conditions, campus maps, virtual campus tours, live images of the main campus as viewed through a Web camera, and chat rooms where you can interact with other students.
Useful Financial Aid Web Sites
Free Application for Federal Student Aid
Finding Education Beyond High School: The Guide to Federal Student Aid
College Is Possible
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) sponsors more than 49 National College FairsTM and 17 Performing and Visual Arts College Fairs in the U.S. which you are invited to attend free of charge. To find out more about these fairs you may either see your counselor for the schedule of a college fair close to you, or visit us at www.nacacnet.org. Visit www.nacacnet.org, Events Calendar for the college fair schedules.
What are the first steps?
1. Planning for college can start as early as middle school.
2. Talk with your child’s guidance counselor or teacher about your child’s options after high school.
3. Keep and use this guide to be sure that your child is taking the right courses.
4. Encourage your child to study and take competitive courses.
5. Be involved in school activities. Go to parents’ nights and conferences and meet with your child’s teachers.
6. Be sure your child is taking the most diffi cult courses he or she canhandle so that college and career choices are open.
7. Encourage your child to participate in school, community and church activities.
What should my child do?
1. Planning for college can start as early as middle school.2. Your child needs a fi rm foundation in rigorous, high level math and English courses.3. Your child should take advantage of courses offered in science, social studies, foreign languages and performing arts.4. Your child must learn good study habits.5. Your child should consider what he or she wants to do after high school and discuss options with the school counselor or teachers.
What can I as a parent do?
1. Believe in your child’s abilities.2. Take an interest in what your child is studying and his other homework.3. Help your child remain focused on school.4. Visit the school and schedule conferences.5. The courses your child takes and the grades he or she now receives have a lot to do with what your child can do after high school.6. Work with your child on the development of his or her schedule of courses.7. Create a quiet place for your child to study.8. Start early when researching fi nancial aid.
How do I find out what courses my child should take?
Talk with the counselor or teacher at the school. He or she can show you what classes best prepare your child for the future. Principals may also help. Use the chart on the opposite panel as a guide to be sure that your child takes the recommended courses. You are encouraged to work with your child’s guidance counselor in the development of his or herschedule. Research the admission requirements of the colleges your student is preparing for because requirements can vary from institution to institution. Most colleges require some form of standardizing testing. Discuss with the counselor test dates, prep courses and so on.
HIGH SCHOOL COURSE PLANNER
Courtesy: Adventures in Education at www.aie.org. The table above will make your student's high school course planning easier and better organized. If your student needs help determining requirements or fi nding out what courses are available, have him or her speak to his or her guidance counselor.
TYPES OF INSTITUTIONS
Colleges and Universities (four-year):
Institutions made up of divisions called schools or colleges. Geared toward preparation for professional occupations such as accounting, engineering, and health services. Traditional classroom setting. Offer BA or BS degrees upon completion of program.
Community and Junior Colleges (two-year):
Institutions are conveniently located in local communities. Specialize in college transfer programs often tied to four-year colleges in state or area. Usually respond to local employment demand by offering courses in needed areas. Offer associate degrees or certificates upon completion of program.
Award baccalaureate, may also award associate degrees; offer graduate degree programs primarily at the master’s, specialist’s, or professional level, although one or two doctoral programs may be offered.
Military establishments that combine education and training for the armed forces in large and very structured institutions. There are five service academies in the U.S., all of which require serving at least four or six years as officers in exchange for four years of education. The military’s goal is to produce officers who are well educated both academically and in the workings of the military itself. Offer degrees upon completion of officer training program.
Performing and Visual Arts Colleges:
Institutions including universities, colleges, schools, and conservatories with programs of study in the areas of music, art, theater, dance and related disciplines. Many conservatory programs emphasize auditions and portfolio presentation. Offer degrees or professional degrees upon completion of program.
Colleges that concentrate their offerings in one or two specific areas are classifi ed as specialized colleges. They include colleges offering the following types of study: agricultural/technical, art/music, Bible, business, engineering, health sciences, military, seminary/rabbinical, and teacher preparation. Some are two-year colleges; others offer four years of study.
Vocational, Technical and Business Schools:
Private proprietary schools specializing in trades or vocations by offering various courses and occupational programs. Specialize in skill training (e.g., welding, cooking, hair styling, and word processing) required for a specific job. Offer certifi cates upon completion of training program.
|2-Year and 4-Year Colleges, Universities, and Military Academies||Performing and Visual Arts Colleges||Vocational and Technical Schools||Business Schools|
|English||4 years||4 years||4 years||4 years|
|Science, including Laboratory||3-4 years Biology, Chemistry, Physics||3-4 years||1-3 years||1-3 years|
|Math||3-4 years Algebra I and II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus||3-4 years||2-4 years||3-4 years|
|History/Social Science||3-4 years||2-4 years||2-4 years||3-4 years|
|Foreign Language||2-4 years of the same language||2-3 years of the same language||2-4 years of the same language||3-4 years of the same language|
|Other Activities, including Community Service Work, and Participation in Clubs||Music, Art, Dance, Drama||Music, Art, Dance, Drama1-3||Shop and skills courses||Shorthand, Accounting|
Books for Parents of College-Bound Students
The admission counselors, high school counselors, and other professionals on the NACAC e-mail list recommend the following books for parents of college-bound students:
- Letting Go: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the College Years by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger. Written by a college dean and a psychotherapist, this book was mentioned the most by NACAC members
- When Your Kid Goes To College by Carol Barkin. The author decided to write the book after sending her son off to college. She interviewed parents around the country to get their perspectives on the college transition
- Almost Grown: Launching Your Child From High School to College by Patricia Pasick
- Empty Nest, Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steenhouse. Practical advice from a Mom and Ph.D.
- Don't Tell Me What To Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller
- Campus Daze by George Gibbs
- The College Guide for Parents by Charles Shield (Published by the College Board)
Reprinted with the permission of the National Association for College Admission Counseling. © 2008 National Association for College Admission Counseling.
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