College News on Campus Visits, Majors and More

Plus the advantages of community college, why high school grades matter and student debit cards.

By Anne Vaccaro Brady

We’re hitting the time of year when high school juniors and even some sophomores begin taking campus tours, learning what colleges are looking for in potential students, and realizing that they may need to work harder to get into the college of their choice.

High school seniors, who are receiving acceptances and rejections on a regular basis now, should be talking with their parents about how to pay for college and take a closer look at the major they put on their application to decide whether to stick with it. Here is advice from my posts and others I’ve found recently that should help in all these areas.

College campus stock photoVisit colleges I believe it’s never too early to step foot on a college campus with your son or daughter, just to familiarize them with the difference between their one- or two-building high school and the multi-building, many-acred layout of a college.

I’ve written about college tours several times. Check out my most recent post on visiting colleges, which includes links to my previous articles covering everything from when to start and what to expect.

College Admission has an excellent post filled with the best advice from high school counselors on campus visits.

The importance of high school grades in college admissions The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) recently issued the results of their annual “State of College Admission” that revealed that a “student’s high school record is the most important factor in college admissions decisions.” If your sophomore or junior has been coasting lately, share this information with them.

Community college is budget-friendly Lisa Ward writes in the Wall Street Journal about using community college to cut costs. In this informative article, she also discusses how to ensure a smooth transition into a four-year program.

I’ve also examined the overlooked advantages of community college in an earlier post. The option shouldn’t be dismissed lightly.

College graduation stock photoWhy acquiring a college degree matters Jennifer Ludden of NPR’s “All Things Considered” reports on a new study by the Pew Research Center which reveals that people with a college degree earn more than those without.

Focusing on college majors Lynn O’Shaughnessy writes on her The College Solution blog about whether your child is prepared for a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) major. Students who want to be doctors or engineers need certain courses while in high school and a basic aptitude in the required subject areas. She offers advice on how to get both.

Jordan Weissmann’s article on TheAtlantic.com addresses why money is not the only way to measure the value of a college major. She bases it on research by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, whose goal is to promote a liberal arts education, showing humanities majors do earn living wages.

I’ve covered the issues of college majors in an earlier post on 10 college majors and the 100 jobs you can get with them, as well as another on helping your child pick a major.

My advice to my own kids and other students has always been to pick a major based on your career goals. If you have no interest or aptitude for engineering, then choose a major that suits your interests, but research in advance your career options, because being able to make a living at what you enjoy is important. All artists aren’t starving.

Student debit cards I wrote about the advantages and disadvantages of Higher One and other student debit cards in a previous post. Now the Government Accountability Office is recommending changes for student debit cards. Look closely at the fine print if your son or daughter’s college offers one.

Share your thoughts on these articles and others you may have found useful.

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One Response to College News on Campus Visits, Majors and More

  1. Anne, you always provide your readers with excellent sources and the references you link to are very good reading for parents. As moms of high school seniors (our youngest), we have worked our way toward the end of the arc of the college process and send best wishes to the other moms out there who are just beginning.

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