Etiquette Hell

A Civil World. Off-topic discussions on a variety of topics. Guests, register for forum membership to see all the boards. => Time For a Coffee Break! => Topic started by: LadyDyani on August 18, 2015, 03:36:13 PM

Title: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: LadyDyani on August 18, 2015, 03:36:13 PM
How do I help my daughter start applying for colleges? I didn't go to college, I have no idea how this works. When should she start? When should she apply for scholarships? How does she decide which college? Any of my knowledge about college is taken from movies, I'm assuming I can't get Rodney Dangerfield to have NASA do her homework.

She's a senior in high school, 3.85 GPA, taking classes in Digital Design and Interactive Media. She wants to work on CGI movies.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: AngelicGamer on August 18, 2015, 03:39:42 PM
If she wants to go to college, I would suggest that she speak with her guidance councilor about schools.  Or a simple Google search might help as well.  She might want to be more self taught or try to find an apprenticeship. 

Maybe a talk with your daughter about what she wants to do would be the best first step. 
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: ladyknight1 on August 18, 2015, 03:43:42 PM
The graphic design and digital media field is fast growing and may be challenging to get into. Has she taken the SAT/ACT? Did she do well? That will matter for scholarships and college admission. She should research which universities and colleges offer her program and what they are looking for. She should write an admissions essay and have a resume ready to accompany her application. She will also need to supply her high school transcript to the prospective school along with any AP/CLEP test transcripts as the case may be. There will be an application fee at most schools.

She should start applying for scholarships soon for next year, she and you should complete the FAFSA (if you are in the US) early in the spring, as soon as you can, you will need to update it after you file your taxes. The FAFSA tells the school how much your daughter is eligible for in grants, and is required for Pell grants and subsidized loans. If she will attend in-state, you will need to provide residency information and proof to the school.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: zainabzks on August 18, 2015, 03:44:07 PM
COngratulations to you and your daughter! :)

Here are a few suggestions:

Counselors at school should help her. They'll help her navigate through the process.
Look at schools that offer her major.
She will need to take the SATs and AP tests.
Colleges have deadlines. Once she knows which colleges she wants to apply to, she can look at their websites and get direction from them.

Good luck! :)


Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: TracyXJ on August 18, 2015, 03:51:21 PM

Also, you need to decide what help, if any, you are willing/able to give.  If its money, a car, help with boarding, know what your budget is.  And get an idea of what it will cost to pay back student loans if she needs them.  This might then lead to her needing to go to a local college and living at home while she takes some of the basic classes (social studies, math, etc) that can transfer (make sure the college she actually wants to attend accepts credit transfers from local college) and then she might not need to be at a more expensive college as long to get her degree.  Just be careful with that - my parents wanted me to do that and thankfully I didn't because it would have still taken me 4 years at more expensive college because of how the classes in my degree stack on each other. 

I have no idea on the actual applications, I got a letter from my first choice college before I ever applied saying I was pre-accepted and offering a little bit of money.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: miredrose326 on August 18, 2015, 03:55:58 PM
My son started applying to colleges in August of last year (his senior year). Some of the grants that the schools give out are done on a first come, first served basis.

Scholarships, I started making lists of what he could apply for, when the scholarship application period opened, when the due date was and what we needed for them.

As for how she decides which college, that's what college visits and tours are for if you can do them, otherwise I would take online tours, do research online. See what other people say about the schools she's looking at. My son was convinced he was going to Michigan State, from the time he was in first grade he was going to MSU. There was no question, he was a spartan. Then we visited Ferris State, and he fell in love. We both knew he was going to go to school there before we left campus that day. It was an instant feeling of home and comfort. He moved into his dorm in 10 days and he has never been more excited.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: glacio on August 18, 2015, 04:35:31 PM
I graduated high school about 10 years ago, so hopefully my advice isn't too out-of-date. I used the college board college search to find schools (I think the new version is this https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/college-search). I was able to see what options were out there and I am very much a researcher so it allowed me to find all of these places I had never heard of. Also, check deadlines now for the big schools. My state systems had deadlines in Sept or Oct, so she may need to act very quickly.

For applications, I got manila folders for every school that I wanted to apply to and used a sharpie to write out all of their requirements and deadlines and then thumb tacked them to my bedroom wall. When I finished a piece I'd print it out and put it in the folder so that everything was organized and I couldn't forget about it.

Most importantly, she should not worry too much about where she goes. I went to my dream small private school and am honestly regretting it a bit because of the loans I'm still paying off. My grad school was at a large state school, that I probably would have done just as well at for undergrad with a much smaller bill. Basically schools are much more similar than you would think they would be and it's much more about making the most of wherever you are.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: jpcher on August 18, 2015, 04:46:24 PM
I agree with talking to the HS counselor. We received quite a wealth of information from a list of schools to how to apply for grants, etc., etc., etc. I went with DD#1 for her first appt. (she asked me to) and there were questions that I had that DD#1 didn't even think of, so you might want to consider this. All other appts. (and she can stop in and chat with counselor any time she has questions) were attended by just DD#1.

As far as what school? Look into the state schools where you live. Tuition is usually cheaper for in-state residents. There's absolutely nothing wrong with attending a lower cost school for the gen-ed requirements, then transferring elsewhere. Just be sure that the credits are transferrable.


For applications, I got manila folders for every school that I wanted to apply to and used a sharpie to write out all of their requirements and deadlines and then thumb tacked them to my bedroom wall. When I finished a piece I'd print it out and put it in the folder so that everything was organized and I couldn't forget about it.

I think this is a great organization method! ;D
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Hmmmmm on August 18, 2015, 04:53:16 PM
Hopefully as an entering senior she has already taken her SAT and ACT entrance exams. If not, get her signed up for the next one NOW. I know the next SAT testing date is in Oct and registration ends at the end of this month.
https://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-us-dates

Most colleges are already accepting applications for next Fall 2016 entrance and many require applications to be submitted by mid December with her high school transcript and for her SAT or ACT scores.

The Collegeboard site has lots of other useful information like planning for college and lists of universities that you can search on based on location or prefered major. You'll be able to get info on acceptance rates, costs, size, deadlines for submitting applications. Find out if her school as a college night where different universities send reps and you get to walk around and visit. At my kid's HS some universities visited their campus to recruit.  Have her start developing a short list of universities she is interested in. If she hasn't met with her counselor, she should.

Once she short lists, she can contact the schools to schedule campus visits. Some have specific days where they'll have pre-planned events for perspective students and their families. Others will allow you to schedule a tour of campus on any day.


As others have said, start filling out the FAFSA. It will give you an idea of what type of financial aid she can get in grants and loans.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Jocelyn on August 18, 2015, 05:00:32 PM
High school counselors can advise her on what are good colleges for her major. Be very skeptical of Internet ads...I have seen ads that imply that schools have majors that they do NOT 'well, it's just as good as that other major'. She can contact potential employers and ask them what degrees and trainings they want future employees to have.
Really, you are just choosing a freshman year school. She will be taking English, math, history...things that will apply to most majors, and will transfer to other schools (most likely), so if you choose wrong, it's always fix-able. Go visit a few schools. My campus has Saturdays between now and the end of the school year for HS students to come and see the campus, talk to the departments they're interested in, and get a better idea about the school. It helps to visit schools that aren't high on her list, it will help her learn more about how to choose. I learned SO much going with my older sisters on their campus visits- I learned what colleges were like, how they differed, and what I didn't want. For example, if she wants to live on campus (or is required to), seeing various dorms is important. Is sharing a community bath down the hall an acceptable option, or does she think it would be horrible? What about the dining hall? In her dorm, across campus? Seeing the options at my sisters' schools helped me to find what was the very best living option for me. Getting to meet faculty in her particular major is a good idea. It's possible to set up a visit with faculty if you come to campus another day, and unless the answer is something like the department is hosting a special event that day, it's a bad sign if the department can't get someone to visit with a potential student. If they're so disinterested in a new student that no one will free up time to talk, it's something to consider whether they'll be the right people to nurture her talent. Keep in mind that we are overhead, and you are profit. :) Try to set up a visit with students in the department, too. If they have a student ambassador, yes, she probably knows her bread and butter depends upon being positive, but she'll still give you some good clues about the school, and if you can talk to students in general, you may get some fine information about how it 'feels' to be a student there.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: AvidReader on August 18, 2015, 05:45:58 PM
Part of the process is for Mom and Dad to have a serious look at their own finances and make the determination of how much you can put on the table for your DD's education.  The FAFSA will help with that.   My experience is dated in that DS graduated from high school in 2004, but I remember that DH and I prepared the FAFSA in about January of that year.  It is based on the numbers in your federal tax return (if you are in the US) for the same year, so you have to get a jump on your tax prep. 

Mom and Dad, seriously look at in-state public colleges and universities if you do not want to burden your DD or yourselves with a mountain of debt.  If finances are limited, consider having DD attend the local community college and living at home for the first two years.  Many states have a guaranteed admission program to a number of in-state universities if the student completes a certain program of coursework at the community college.  The courses taken during the first two of a four year college/university education tend towards general education with the final two years focused on the major course of study.

By all means, check the websites for the colleges and universities and see when they have tours for potential students.  Our DS was hesitant about the whole idea of college and we very early on started doing college visits with him so he could see what a college campus was like.  According to him, some were too big, others were too urban, then he visited one and it clicked.  I knew it when he said, "Oh, Mom, I could go here."   

And by all means, DD needs to be working with one of the high school's guidance counselors in order to identify both academic programs and any and all scholarships that may be available.  That's what they are there for. 

Congrats on her commendable GPA and ambitious goals.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: artk2002 on August 18, 2015, 06:18:58 PM
Having gone through this each of the last two years, I've got a few things to contribute.  ;D  Sorry, these are going to be a bit random.

First, do talk to the guidance counselors at school. We actually had a family meeting with one for my eldest. It would have been great had she been competent, but sadly, she wasn't. So of course, she was my younger son's counselor, too. A competent one will listen to your daughter, and you, and will recommend schools that would be a good fit.

She should also talk to her teachers about where they went to school and what they liked (and didn't like about it.) Zack, my younger son, is an artist and we started out looking at art schools. He was accepted to three of them but ended up choosing a public, liberal arts university. That was based in part on some strong teacher recommendations. When you're an undergraduate, things can change a lot. If you've committed to an art school, you're kinda stuck. That said, many of the art schools have excellent graphic arts departments. We looked at the San Francisco Art Institute, California College of the Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Maryland Institute College of Art. Those specialist schools tend to be much more pricey (like $40k/yr) than a public liberal arts school, which is partly why Z went with UCLA (and why I was sweating bullets for a while!) Which has an excellent art department, not to mention the theater, film and television department. (I strongly suggest looking at UCLA!) Even if you choose an art school, choose one that offers a full BA program; the "extra" stuff like English, history and math really can help a lot. All of the art schools we looked at had that (because Z's mom and I insisted on it!)

If you're in the western US, there's an organization called the Western Undergraduate Exchange. Under that program a student who lives in one of the western states can go to a university in another state for in-state tuition. We live in California and Grant is going to the University of Nevada at Reno for the price of a Nevada resident.

Plan on touring schools. (Honestly, you should have started that this Summer and even last Spring.) Plan on some road trips during Winter break. You can even take tours after most acceptances have been mailed -- most schools have a May 1 deadline for responding so there's usually a window of a month or so. We toured UCLA after Z was accepted. It was the tour that really convinced him that that was where he wanted to be. Some things that really impressed us about the art department at UCLA were the fact that the faculty are all working artists. There's also a very low student to faculty ratio so lots of opportunity for interaction. There are outside opportunities -- LA has some great art galleries and museums and there are internship and other opportunities all of the time.

Don't be afraid of doing the community college thing to get some general ed requirements out of the way for the first couple of years. That's a reasonable way to keep costs down. One downside is that many community colleges are over-subscribed and it may be difficult to get the classes you want. Do some research.

Spend some time as a family talking about what's right for you all. Just remember that she gets the final word -- she's the one who's got to live the life! Local? Out of town? Commute? Live in the dorms? What kind of extra-curriculars are available? One of G's disappointments about Reno is that he likes to play hockey, but the nearest rink is in Tahoe and he doesn't have a car.

Above all, stay far, far away from the for-profit universities. If you've been following the news, you should know that many are barely better than scams which can leave you miles deep in debt with no job prospects. If someone "guarantees" employment after graduation, take that with a really big grain of salt.

You can apply for some scholarships and grants now, but you're going to have to do the FAFSA in February. Do your taxes early next year 'cause you're going to need that info.

Contrary to what someone said above, not all schools are accepting Fall 2016 applications yet. I know that the UC and Cal State systems won't accept them for a couple of months yet. Make yourself a calendar of both the earliest and latest you can apply to each school.

If she wants to major in some form of art, she's going to need to put together a portfolio. She should work with her teachers now to do that. If she has CGI animations, those should be part of it. Zack actually has a web site that had some of his portfolio. I'd post it but some of the images are not safe for work or small children. PM me if you're interested. His electronic portfolio was submitted to each school by uploading pictures and videos.

As Jocelyn says, this isn't a life-long commitment. You can change. We're looking into having Grant transfer next year because he's feeling very isolated in Reno and the program isn't as good as he thought it was. We're giving it this year to see how things improve. He's in engineering and a lot of the freshman classes are designed to weed out people and he was frustrated by having to work on teams with people who decided that well, maybe engineering wasn't for them.

Echoing others: She must take the SAT and/or ACT soon! Those scores are absolutely necessary for applying. Which one to take depends somewhat on the entrance requirements where she applies. Some schools will accept either, while others want one or the other. Be prepared to take it more than once.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: ladyknight1 on August 18, 2015, 06:51:20 PM
POD Art. Watch out for both for-profit universities and institutions that aren't regionally accredited. You might be surprised that some major technical and creative schools aren't. Their credits/degree won't transfer to another school except in rare circumstances.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Lady Snowdon on August 18, 2015, 07:18:19 PM
Have your daughter think about what she is looking for in a college/university.  Does she want big/boisterous/known for parties, or does she want small/quiet/dry?  I couldn't handle the thought of being an undergrad at one of the large universities, that might boast an enrollment of 30,000 people or more.  The very idea scared the heck out of me!  I ended up looking at small private colleges (I think the largest had an enrollment of 7500 undergrads).  The college I ended up going to had a total enrollment of 2500 undergrads.  Much better for me!  There are lots of different ways to find colleges - I went to college fairs for specific religious faiths, and college fairs for specific majors, etc.  Take home whatever information you can get, and then look up more!

School tours are wonderful things to do - I went on four, I think.  Try and eat in the cafeteria while there; the food decided me against one school right away!  Otherwise, talk to professors in the areas your daughter is interested in, talk to students, talk to the admin staff.  You can learn a lot by asking general questions.  Also, the drive/flight out to the school will tell you how hard it'll be for your daughter to get home for breaks, or for the summer.  The college I went to ended up being a 12 hour drive or a 4 hour drive plus a two hour flight away from my parents.  I never even thought about it when making my decision, but my mom visibly cringed any time road trips come up in the conversation for the four years I was there!
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: artk2002 on August 18, 2015, 07:23:46 PM
Have your daughter think about what she is looking for in a college/university.  Does she want big/boisterous/known for parties, or does she want small/quiet/dry?  I couldn't handle the thought of being an undergrad at one of the large universities, that might boast an enrollment of 30,000 people or more.  The very idea scared the heck out of me!  I ended up looking at small private colleges (I think the largest had an enrollment of 7500 undergrads).  The college I ended up going to had a total enrollment of 2500 undergrads.  Much better for me!  There are lots of different ways to find colleges - I went to college fairs for specific religious faiths, and college fairs for specific majors, etc.  Take home whatever information you can get, and then look up more!

This is good advice, but don't ignore the big schools just because of a number. UCLA has something like 30,000 undergraduates, but there are only 250 in the art department. Once you start working on a major, you're going to spend most of your time within the department.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: magician5 on August 18, 2015, 10:02:05 PM
Should be plenty of guidance, both individual and general, from her school's counseling office. More info from specific schools she's interested in.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: figee on August 18, 2015, 10:07:00 PM
As an academic.

Don't let your daughter close herself off in terms of what she 'wants' to do.  I would strongly advise against getting too specialised too soon, so I like artk2002's advice about going to a more 'general' school with a great specialisation.  This gives some flexibility if your daughter decides that she's not actually all that into CGI and would far prefer to be working on quantum physics.  Also, given the size of the loans and debts for people coming out of college in the US, I'd also suggest trying to get hold of employment and placement statistics of graduates in their chosen field for each school, levels of drop-outs and transfers and for the department or field specifically. 
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: TracyXJ on August 19, 2015, 07:57:53 AM
High school counselors can advise her on what are good colleges for her major. Be very skeptical of Internet ads...I have seen ads that imply that schools have majors that they do NOT 'well, it's just as good as that other major'. She can contact potential employers and ask them what degrees and trainings they want future employees to have.
Really, you are just choosing a freshman year school. She will be taking English, math, history...things that will apply to most majors, and will transfer to other schools (most likely), so if you choose wrong, it's always fix-able. Go visit a few schools. My campus has Saturdays between now and the end of the school year for HS students to come and see the campus, talk to the departments they're interested in, and get a better idea about the school. It helps to visit schools that aren't high on her list, it will help her learn more about how to choose. I learned SO much going with my older sisters on their campus visits- I learned what colleges were like, how they differed, and what I didn't want. For example, if she wants to live on campus (or is required to), seeing various dorms is important. Is sharing a community bath down the hall an acceptable option, or does she think it would be horrible? What about the dining hall? In her dorm, across campus? Seeing the options at my sisters' schools helped me to find what was the very best living option for me. Getting to meet faculty in her particular major is a good idea. It's possible to set up a visit with faculty if you come to campus another day, and unless the answer is something like the department is hosting a special event that day, it's a bad sign if the department can't get someone to visit with a potential student. If they're so disinterested in a new student that no one will free up time to talk, it's something to consider whether they'll be the right people to nurture her talent. Keep in mind that we are overhead, and you are profit. :) Try to set up a visit with students in the department, too. If they have a student ambassador, yes, she probably knows her bread and butter depends upon being positive, but she'll still give you some good clues about the school, and if you can talk to students in general, you may get some fine information about how it 'feels' to be a student there.

Please be careful about the bolded!  It is not true for all majors.  I don't know about graphic design and media, but I'm in engineering.  And I had to to take 2 pre-engineering classes (one each semester) freshman year.  Without those, I couldn't enroll in any engineering courses.  So if I went to a school that didn't offer the equivalent of those 2 classes and then transfered to my school of choice, I would pretty much have to restart as a freshman, only now I wouldn't have those basic math, english, etc to fill my schedule with.  I'd pretty much add another year onto my schooling.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: athersgeo on August 19, 2015, 08:27:02 AM
Another question to ask (and it's a bit of a radical one) is: Is college actually the right career path for what she wants to do?

It is worth looking at job postings for entry level jobs in her field and see what qualifications they actually want before you consign yourself to four years of further education and student loans - I know that when I was 17/18 and looking into further education the field I wanted to get into (which was not dissimilar to your daughter's field) didn't have any degree requirements and I'd have done far, far better to have taken an internship*/apprenticeship role directly out of school rather than going to university and doing an only tangentially related course, racking up a student loan bill, debt and ultimately dropping out because I failed my second year because (in addition to not really being the right course) I wasn't mentally ready to do higher education!



*Note: the sort of job I'm talking about is a paid one, not the standard sort of college internship that seems to be prevalent these days where the internee is used as free labour
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: EllenS on August 19, 2015, 08:47:27 AM
My DH has a degree in computer animation, and he says that if she aspires to a career in Hollywood, the most important thing to look for is a school where a large percentage of the art/film faculty are actively employed in the film industry. Their bios and IMDB should tell you.

Any school, anywhere, can buy software and teach technique.  The film industry is all about networking.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: PennyandPleased on August 19, 2015, 09:30:54 AM
My High School Guidance Counsilor was HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do NOT just rely on them!!!! Obviously they might be great BUT I highly suggest getting outside advice as well.

My Parents approached a family acquintence who had 3 kids, all a bit older than me who had gone on to 4 year colleges. They set up a time and sat down with them and had a long conversation about applying to colleges and what they needed to know to help me get into school and prepare for college. They were amazing.

Tour campuses of as many schools as you can. Even just driving to the campus and walking around on your own. Talk to students you may know that go there, etc.

You will be fine. My parents were freaking out when I was applying to Undergrad. It worked out great and I loved undergrad. And I just finished my Masters. Everything will work out.  :)

Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Roodabega on August 19, 2015, 10:06:19 AM
Recommendations from teachers are valuable.  Plan on doing visits to a number of colleges and universities.  In my experience most high schools will give seniors at least a couple of excused absences for campus visits.  If you're in the US, fastweb.com is a good place to search for scholarship information.  Also ask for recommendations from H.S. advisors and if you've narrowed it down to a few schools look at their financial aid site for their recommendations for scholarships and scholarship search sites.  Your child should start applying for scholarships now.  It's surprising that a lot of scholarships have a fall deadline (this year) for use in the next academic year.

A trick we learned was don't neglect the end of the list for available scholarships.  Maybe even start there.  My child got a scholarship from an obscure trade group because they had only a few entries.

Check the preferred universities calendar.   Most of them will have campus visit days where you can get a guided tour.  Have to sign up for it.  And visit dorm rooms if possible if on-campus housing is anticipated.

If you've narrowed in on a university and think your child will be on-campus, get the housing request in as early as possible.  You have a much better chance of getting into your desired pick rather than get dumped into whatever dorm has room.  * ETA*  Our experience is that the schools that both of our children attended started taking housing requests WAY earlier than we expected.  Like in the fall this year for housing next year.

You don't have to panic about things, but you will find that you need to do things a lot earlier than you might expect to have to do them.

*ETA2*  Just remembered.  If the school your daughter will attend requires significant travel to get there and you will plan to get a hotel room, start thinking about a reservation in January.  Especially if it's a college town rather than a big city with a college in it.   Rooms close to campus for move-in week, move-out week, and any special school events fill up really, really early.  We found that out the hard way for our first.    Rooms in Houghton for Michigan Technological University started filling up in January and were mostly filled by May for fall move-in.   We had to get a room 30 miles from campus when we started looking in June.

Basically you have to be a good planner.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: cheyne on August 19, 2015, 01:56:47 PM
State colleges, community colleges and vo-tech schools usually have much lower costs for the same classes.  Just make sure that the school is accredited and the credits will transfer to a university system.

Do the FAFSA form but do not be surprised if you do not qualify for any grants, the income threshold is extremely low for "free" money.  If at all possible, fund as much of the cost as you can now, do NOT take out any loans that aren't absolutely necessary.  We do not even bother with the FAFSA as we do not qualify for any assistance, we just tighten our belts and write a check.  If you can squeeze your budget or have college savings accounts, the leg-up for your DD in not having to take out loans is tremendous. 

With a 3.85 GPA your DD has a good chance of scholarships if she also does well with the ACT or SAT.  My DD won a full academic scholarship on a 30 ACT score and a 3.8 GPA. 

Good Luck and have fun with the process.  I know that DH and I enjoyed the campus tours, as neither of us went to college.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: learningtofly on August 19, 2015, 02:48:59 PM
Our college counselor was horrible!  Missed meetings, couldn't remember our names, and since his previous school had worked with a very specialized population he couldn't adapt to a general population school.

My parents hired an independent counselor.  The bulk of her advice:

1) keep a notebook for college tours.  Jot down what you like, what you didn't like, what your requirements are, and what your questions are for the admissions people.  I either had one on one interviews or group tours.  Best way to get info.  You may visit several colleges in one trip and this is a good way to keep them from getting mixed up and enrolling at the wrong school.

2) Once you have your applications, line up your recommendations early and get them the forms early.  It's not just the essay.  Every kid in her class is going to need recommendations and the teachers can get overwhelmed.  Get them the requests early. 

As I said, our counselor was awful.  However, he did have my transcripts and all recommendations were handed over to him.  So I made sure I was super organized (I love the manila envelope idea) and then walked in with all of the documents he needed to send out to each college. 

When your daughter starts getting acceptances, look into the visits offered by each school.  And apply to any and all scholarships.  I wish I had.  Any and all money helps.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: artk2002 on August 19, 2015, 03:26:57 PM
Our college counselor was horrible!  Missed meetings, couldn't remember our names, and since his previous school had worked with a very specialized population he couldn't adapt to a general population school.

My parents hired an independent counselor.  The bulk of her advice:

1) keep a notebook for college tours.  Jot down what you like, what you didn't like, what your requirements are, and what your questions are for the admissions people.  I either had one on one interviews or group tours.  Best way to get info.  You may visit several colleges in one trip and this is a good way to keep them from getting mixed up and enrolling at the wrong school.

2) Once you have your applications, line up your recommendations early and get them the forms early.  It's not just the essay.  Every kid in her class is going to need recommendations and the teachers can get overwhelmed.  Get them the requests early. 

As I said, our counselor was awful.  However, he did have my transcripts and all recommendations were handed over to him.  So I made sure I was super organized (I love the manila envelope idea) and then walked in with all of the documents he needed to send out to each college. 

When your daughter starts getting acceptances, look into the visits offered by each school.  And apply to any and all scholarships.  I wish I had.  Any and all money helps.

Private counselors were popular at the boys' school, as was SAT tutoring. But these were people willing to spend $20-25K to get their kid into an Ivy. Not something I'd recommend for mere mortals. I'm sure that OP can find people and classes for much less if the in-school ones prove to be, ahem, weak.

Good point about talking to teachers about letters. Grant missed out on one good recommendation because he approached the teacher too late and she had too many to do already. The way the school worked it is that you asked the teacher for the recommendation and they turned it into the counselors. The counselors then forwarded copies to all of the schools -- that way you didn't have to get the applications in first. The school uses a service called Naviance to manage all of that.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: LadyDyani on September 18, 2015, 08:31:17 AM
Sorry for asking a question then disappearing for weeks. We're opening a new location at work and I've spent the past few weeks working overtime and running cat6 cable in the ceilings!

Thank you everyone for all of the information! My daughter and I went through all of the posts last night and she has a large list of to-do's and questions for her counselor.

We're definitely going to use a calendar, as well as the manila envelope idea!

Thank you!
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: SheltieMom on September 18, 2015, 11:38:50 AM
Someone mentioned upthread making sure you use the right FAFSA site, and I want to emphasize it. It is a government site, and the URL is fafsa.gov. There are many spoof sites that look really good, but will charge a fee. FAFSA is free for anyone in the US.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Kimberami on September 18, 2015, 11:46:03 AM
Keep your eye out for college fairs at your DD's high school or local community colleges.  That's how I found the school that I really wanted to attend.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: bopper on September 18, 2015, 01:04:22 PM
She is a little behind...ideally you start coming up with college ideas Junior year and visit then or over the summer.

A tremendous resource is CollegeConfidential.com...they have a "Supermatch" tool where you can put in where/what major/big/small school/etc and get some ideas for colleges. Go to the Parents subforum and ask your question.

Then she should try to visit some nearby schools...your Big State U and a smaller college for her to see what she likes.

Does your HS have "Naviance"?  It is a tool for applying to colleges and has great info about which colleges students from their HS go to, and what GPA/SAT they have.


I assume she has taken the SAT or ACT? If not, do that ASAP.

Also, figure out how much you can afford.  Use that info when selecting colleges.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: lilfox on September 18, 2015, 01:17:38 PM
Re: guidance counselors.  Advise your DD to listen well but keep a certain amount of skepticism if the counselor pushes one way or another.

In my case, I went in a bit unfocused about what I wanted in a college environment, and my GC decided not to just listen to me talk things out. Instead she pushed one college that she had coincidentally just visited, and thought that should be a done deal.  She also tried to discourage me from applying to some more challenging schools even though I was well within the SAT and GPA range to be considered.  Though I may have been unfocused, I sure wasn't going to take that advice - I didn't apply to her chosen school (I did do a campus tour later when we were in the area and would have hated the environment), and I did apply to the challenging ones and got in.

The counselor should listen and offer objective advice, not push an agenda.  If a reality check is needed, that's fine, but to this day I don't know why she didn't want me to waste my time applying to schools that I was qualified for just because they had tough reputations.

And I'll also back the suggestion to go to a well rounded school.  I had always wanted to be a certain type of engineer but I received that advice myself and ended up selecting a college that didn't have that exact specialty. Instead it had strong programs in related fields and I stumbled onto my "true calling" which might not have been possible at a hard core engineering school.
Title: Re: Daughter is a senior in high school now.
Post by: Lynn2000 on September 18, 2015, 01:29:59 PM
Yes, I feel like our guidance counselor began pushing college stuff at the start of junior year, and was pretty relentless about it. (Annoying to me as a kid!) When I took the ACT, I had to have several schools in mind where I wanted the results sent, because that was the last question on the test, and my recollection is I took that junior year. Of course things may vary by location and naturally not all guidance counselors are going to be on the ball.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is classes she can take now, for college credit. Our tiny high school didn't have anything like this when I was a student, but even they have a couple AP classes now, and in bigger schools they have a whole suite of AP and dual-credit classes that can fulfill both high school requirements and college credits, shortening the amount of time you have to be in college. Or at least, making your schedule more flexible, because you don't have to squeeze in as many general education classes. One of my cousins attended her high school in the morning, then drove to the local community college for afternoon classes when she was a senior, for example. It's not a good plan for everyone but it's worth considering.

Also, I would carefully consider the money situation. A lot of graduates I know of, get a degree from a top school in their field, but find themselves spending the next ten or more years paying off student loans. Everyone thinks top school = top job but IME it doesn't at all these days. You don't want to have a miserable college experience just to save a few bucks, but if someone has stars in their eyes about an out-of-state, private, costly university, I would crunch the numbers and show them how long they will be paying for that dream, and figure out if it's really worth it over another choice.