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College Talk Blog

Success Hints

Early Decision? Early Action? Regular? Arghhhhhh!


The fall 2018 college admission season has officially begun. Students are agonizing over which admission timeline to use. Should they apply early? Will applying early help or hurt their chances of admission? Is there a penalty to any of the timelines? Can they use one timeline for all colleges?

When I talk with parents, some use the terms early action and early decision interchangeably without realizing there is a difference. They too are wondering what their teen should do. Some pressure their teen to get everything done quickly and file early not realizing this advice could compromise essay and application quality.

An Educational Mother's Day Gift

The best gift my mother gave me (besides siblings) was a college education. She acted as my unofficial guidance counselor, coach and mentor. She did all of this as professionally as any professional I have ever met. She realized the importance of college because she was born during the depression, went to high school during World War II and did not get the gift of a college education herself.

The best Mother's Day gift I gave my mother was graduating from college. It was such a popular gift, I did it five times.

What's your teen's story?

What great stories do parents tell about a teen's early life? What challenges has a teen faced and with what outcome? What adventures has a teen had that turned out well or disastrously? What makes a teen unique? These are some of the questions college-bound teens should consider as they decide on the focus of their college essays.

College application essays have the potential to convey personality, potential and why a teen is a great addition to an incoming college freshman class. Or they can be boring narratives that convey little about the student. Parents and grandparents can be a great asset to teens considering what to write about because they know all of the wonderful stories about the early life of a teen that could be used to create a spectacular essay. 

Keep a Watchful Eye on Your Kid's Email

College acceptance notification as well as other critical notices from scholarship and financial aid sources come to families through email.  The good news is that email is fast and reduces waiting for decisions.  The bad news? Not all teens monitor their email.
To avoid missing critical time-sensitive messages, parents need to work with the teens in their familiy to encourage regular email check-ins.  This is an important skill that will translate to success once today's high school senior reaches college.