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College Talk Blog

Stress, communication and the college process

Parents and students often find the college process stressful.  The main stressor, they say, is that many options are only available during specific windows of opportunity and this information is not readily available.
The best way to approach the college process is to do your homework, dialogue with each other as a team and follow the same good-shopper habits that families use in buying a car or other major purchase:
  • start early (at least by 10th grade)
  • find out what the student would like to study so that you can choose colleges wisely
  • determine how far from home is desirable for the student to go away for study
  • determine what the family can contribute to educational costs for college
  • determine the type of college environment that best suits the student (small, large, urban, suburban, online)
  • make a list of 8-12 colleges that meet your needs
  • tour those colleges
After a family gathers information, it is time to put together a college plan which includes:
  • developing an admission application strategy (early decision vs other options)
  • practicing writing required admission essays
  • gathering letters of reference from teachers and employer
  • developing an activity resume
  • evaluating strengths and weaknesses in time to do something about them
Throughout the process, students and parents need to work together toward the best decision for the student and avoid making decisions because of what is popular or what other people think.  Keeping lines of communication open is crucial and feeling free to state opinions and concerns without being judged.
Families should keep in mind that although college choice is important, the choice of a college major is even more important. Don't be afraid to invest in professional help if a student needs support making a decision.  And don't forget that this is the last major decision that you will make together as parent and child.

1 Comment to Stress, communication and the college process:

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strain and stress testing on Saturday, November 8, 2014 8:12 AM
Great piece of writing, I really liked the way you highlighted some really important and significant points. Thanks so much, I appreciate your work.
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