The senior year of high school is filled with excitement, but it can also be a stressful time for both students and parents as they prepare to embark on the next chapter of life.
It is important for students to understand that the college admissions process is a journey about discovery, and to try and not get too overwhelmed with finding that one perfect school. In my more than 26 years of experience in college guidance, I have had a lot of experience in helping students find the best fit college.
Here at Doane Stuart, we strive to give the students all the tools they need to find the best fit college or university. Each year, more than 80 colleges and universities visit Doane Stuart and talk with students in the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Through “working lunches”, a part of the college preparation process, the students will write their college essays and resumes, discuss the importance of being involved in extracurricular activities and volunteer work, as well as decide which teachers to seek out for their college recommendations.
I constantly have parents asking me “What should we be doing; what’s our role in the process?” The short answer is to take direction from your child. Many students rightfully want to take ownership of the college process; and, for many, it is the biggest decision they will make in their young lives. Be there to take them on college visits, be a sounding board when they want to run college essay ideas by you, support their hopes and dreams.
I also believe it’s important to have conversations about cost. Be honest with your children about what is affordable, but also make sure you understand the financial aid process and what is out there to help you pay for an education. On Tuesday, October 18th at 6:30 p.m., the College Counseling office will be hosting a seminar, College Financial Aid: How To Get Your Fair Share. Parents of sophomores, juniors, and seniors are encouraged to attend and you can RSVP to me at [email protected]. There is no fee for the seminar – my goal is to help make the financial aid process as easy to understand and navigate as possible.
While I love working with the students throughout the entire process, the real joy comes when they finally see all the hard work they have put in come to fruition as they receive their acceptance letters. I post a wall of fame each year, putting up every acceptance and scholarship letter the students receive. When the other students, teachers, faculty, and visitors walk by the wall, they are truly impressed with these accomplishments, as am I. Regardless of where your children land on this next phase of their journey, be proud. You’ve raised incredible young citizens.
Director of College Counseling at Doane Stuart