Tag Archives: colleges

Questions of the Day – College Perception & Choosing Correctly

Today’s questions are a couple of good ones. These are the last two from Laura.

Are colleges looking at homeschoolers differently?

It depends upon what you mean by “differently,” and whether or not you think it’s a good thing that they do or don’t, but the short answer is yes, they do look at homeschoolers differently.

Just a few years ago, when a homeschooled student applied to college, he was greeted with suspicion and a small amount of disdain. (Ok, maybe a lot of disdain, depending on the school!) These days however, many universities actively recruit homeschooled students, because of their higher than average test scores, strong work ethic, and recent history of collegiate success. Even so, there is still an attitude that homeschooled students need to “prove” themselves before they can be admitted. This generally takes the form of standardized test scores and dual enrollment courses being weighed higher, due to the perception of parental subjectivity regarding the student’s GPA.

So, in order to counter this attitude, make sure to prepare your students well, so that their ACT/SAT scores adequately reflect their GPA.

How does my child go about choosing a college?

Sit down with your student with a pen and paper and make a list of the qualities he or she is looking for in a college. Big school or small. Public or private. Religious affiliation or secular. Close to home or far away. Liberal arts college, or technical school. After asking these questions and listing which factors are important, begin researching what schools fit these criteria and if they have the program of study or major your child is interested in.

This process should begin informally freshman year. Very often, your student’s interests will change over time, and what he wanted in a college freshman year might now be different come senior year. Visit as many colleges as you can. Preferably during the school year, as it can be a vastly different environment than during the summer. Meet the admissions office. Take a tour. Stay overnight in the dorms with another student. Ask as many questions as possible. It never hurts to be overly informed. Keep a checklist of likes and dislikes at each school. Compare the list from one school to another.

Senior year, apply to all those schools which meet your criteria. Your student might not be admitted to every one, so this will further help to eliminate options. From there, see which school is the best fit, both academically, financially, and socially. Make your choice and begin the new adventure!

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Questions of the Day – Scholarships and Visiting Colleges

Sorry for the absence guys, been working on a new blogging setup and it’s taking a lot more work then anticipated. Hopefully it’ll be up and rolling by the middle of the week, along with the 10 step guide to college prep. But for now, here’s the latest round of questions.

How do I go about finding scholarships for my child?

First thing to do is go to FastWeb.com and create a profile. See what your student qualifies for. Do the same at ScholarshipExperts.com. These sites list outside scholarships given out by companies and organizations which don’t come from the individual colleges your son or daughter is applying to. It’s quite possible that your student will not meet the requirements for a good majority of these non-institutional scholarships. Even so, with the thousands that are available, he or she will most likely be in qualification for several. The requirements are all different. Some are academic based. Others are need based. Still others required you to be a female of french decent living in Oklahoma. These obscure ones can be hit or miss. It never hurts to apply for any of them, sometimes the committee who decides who to reward them to will choose someone who doesn’t meet all the requirements, but only if no one else does either.

Your local public library is another good resource. Most libraries have numerous books on scholarships.

Make sure to fill out the FAFSA form to see what federal and state aid you qualify for. Although not technically “scholarships,” there are many grants available that don’t need to be paid back. Usually these are based upon academic merit or need.

Lastly, check with each school your student is interested in applying to. They will usually have a scholarship list on their website or course catalog. Look into this and see what you qualify for. You never know, you just might get the whole thing paid for!

When should we start visiting colleges?

Although it’s never too early to begin visiting colleges, I probably wouldn’t start until at least freshman year of high school. Make a list, along with your student, of the potential schools interested in, and try to attend as many open houses or preview days as possible at these schools. If you’re going to be vacationing or traveling somewhere near one of your potential universities, stop by to check out the campus. Meet with the admissions office to take a tour. make a list of your likes and dislikes. By senior year, hopefully the list will be narrowed down enough to be able to make a good decision.

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