Lynn Scully, LLC

Picking a College

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.

Picking a College

My child has no idea what he wants to do, where he wants to go, and I don’t know where to start.

Just start.  You have to show your child what’s out there before he can realize what he wants.  Most 16-year old children have no idea what they want from their future.  Start touring campuses now to get an idea of what is appealing.  Any campus is a good start.  Take time to leisurely walk through the town surrounding a campus.  Meet a few staff and professors - not as part of a tour, but in passing.  Attend an event:  a concert, sporting event or lecture.  If your schedule permits, encourage your child to take a short road trip with friends to look on their own.

Although possibly uncertain about their goals, most 16-year old students know their preferences well enough to like or dislike a place pretty quickly, and that is a good place to start.  Listen openly.  Don’t try to convince.  It is not your job, at this point, to “sell” any particular school.

Narrow down the options.  How far away is too far?  Determine a distance that is acceptable to both you and your child.  Determine the academic courses available at each school to see if any match the student’s established academic preferences.  Previously unrecognized interests may be sparked by merely recognizing the wealth of college majors available.  Approximately 75% of students change their course of study. Therefore, consider the curriculum to ensure that those classes which traditionally appealed to your child are offered so that changing majors will not entail changing schools.  For instance, a liberal arts school may not be the best choice for a strong science student, even if everything else is a good fit.

Determine a reasonable cost range.  Scholarships exist. Does your child qualify for aid?  Be hopeful, but realistic.

The maturity that occurs between age 16 and 18 can be enormous.  The unsure or uninterested 16-year old may be a focused and eager participant in the college admission process a year from now.  Initiate the process now to introduce the options and opportunities available.  Then, when the time comes to take the deciding steps, it can be done with confidence.

copyright © 2003-2010 by Lynn Scully, LLC.
I was ready for the SAT,
Lynn Scully has been tutoring and guiding high school students through their college admission process for the past 21 years.  She is the author and host of the get IT SAT Preparation Program.
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