Letting Your Baby Fly
My mom and I were talking yesterday about my articles on HubPages and how I am writing articles mostly directed to incoming freshman. She told me that I should write one for parents as well. "How am I going to write for parents? My experience is different than yours!"
It was then that I realized that my mother had no idea what to do for college for me. She never went. Neither did my dad. She looked to those in my family who went, but it was different for them. My aunt went to college years later supported with scholarships. My grandmother went when she had to chisel numbers into stone. Okay, she is not that old, but it was very different back then. Also both my aunt and grandmother went to be nurses.
I was going to college to be a homicide detective, at the time. So my mother had no clue what to do. I was determined and with the help of my friends the process was easy for me. I am usually very good at figuring things out after playing with it for a little bit.
I had all my applications and transcripts sent by October of 2009 for early admissions. I wanted my options. It was after I sent the applications that I really started looking at the schools I applied to. Luckily I liked each one.
When February came so did all my acceptance letters! My mother was freaking out. She did not know what to do. Until this point my mother was just on my back about filling out applications and finding scholarships. She really did not have to do anything. It was all me. I was the one who told her I had to take the SATs my junior year and the beginning of senior year. (Which is really late, by the way)
At this point, I finally decided to take a tour. I only took one tour and it was at Western Carolina University. This school was the one I was hoping for because the program was unique and had more to offer me than any schools. I really wanted to go because of the Body Farm, a forensic science place that studies decomposing bodies (cadavers). Yeah, I was freak, still am.
Anyway, with my sister practically done with this process, I saw how much more frantic my mother got. My sister does not get things as fast as I do, and since I was away at college with my own problems, I could not help as much as I wanted to or could.
How to Prepare For College
- Preparation for college starts the first day you step into high school. Your grades are the most important your freshman-junior years. Good grades give you a high GPA.
- Being involved with the school shows the college that you will be active on campus as well making the campus grow. Starting clubs and being president of clubs make your application stand out!
- SATs. Studying for SATs should start at the end of freshman year and throughout sophomore year. PSATs will be given your sophomore year, which is just a practice. These are easier than the SATs. Take your first SAT at the end of sophomore year or very beginning of junior year. You can always retake it. The sooner you start the more time you have to get better scores. (I will write an article about the SATs)
- Make a list of colleges you are interested in. This is so you can take tours and know what applications to be on the lookout for. Campus tours should be done junior year. Many high schools allow you an absence to go take campus tours.
- College applications. You should start filling this out the very beginning of senior year. Every college is different. Use the list you made junior year to be on the lookout for deadlines. Early admission is the best time to fill out applications. You have less competition at this stage, and more of a chance of getting accepted.
- After choosing what school you want to go to, file for financial aid. Even if you do not need it, you might be approved to get some help. Financial aid students also have a higher chance of finding work on campus.
- Apply for local scholarships. Local scholarships are easier to win than scholarship found on online. Online scholarships and national scholarships are won with amazing academic and athletic achievement. Find weird scholarships as well. They have a scholarship for everything: left hand people, gay people, red haired people, first person to go to college, child of a police officer...yada yada
- Loans. My parents did not take out loans because loans are hard and take years to pay off. I would imagine this would be the same time to go to the bank and ask about loan payments for college and how to apply.
- Tuition payment will be alerted to you. They will tell you when payments are due. This will give you time to sort through scholarships, financial aid, loans, and the bank.
- Getting stuff for the dorm is usually done in the summer after graduation parties. Graduation parties usually bring in a lot of money and college related gifts. The money can be used to buy dorm supplies or go toward tuition. College gift baskets are awesome to get because you usually get free stuff for your dorm room.
Most seniors think this is the time to slack off. Do not let your child do this. Even if they get accepted, the college/university can still reject them if their grades slip. The first half of the year is very important. By getting good grades that semester, the second semester is less stressful and seniors can enjoy their last months of high school with senior related events.
My second half of senior year was so much fun. My grades were up, and I still got to participate in all the events!
Letting Your Baby Fly
Trust your child with their decisions. They have friends and teachers at school who can help them. This article is simply a way for you to keep up with what is going on. There is a lot to get done, but if you start off early, the process gets easier.
Holding you child back because you do not want them to far away from you can actually hurt your child's education. They need to want to go to school. They should have that decision, but they should also hear your side as well, especially if the issue is money.
Your children will surprise you their senior year. You will see a different side of them as they fill out applications and reflect on their achievements in high school. You will see them growing up. When you see their first acceptance letter, you will see that through all the hard times your child has learned and grow.
So let them spread their wings and fly, but unlike birds, your children will always find their way back home!