Info on college searches, financial aid forecasting, essay writing and more.
By Anne Vaccaro Brady
Whether you’re the parent of a high school senior or a college freshman, I’ve found some recent articles and posts that will help as you navigate the remaining weeks of summer.
Some perspective on the college admissions essay Elizabeth Benedict tries to alleviate the fear of writing the perfect essay in her post on HuffPost College.
A student can really hurt himself in the essay by oversharing. In his op-ed piece in the New York Times, Frank Bruni explains what he learned from a former Yale admissions officer about providing too much personal or inappropriate information and why that doesn’t impress.
Finding financial aid info You would love to know how much financial aid your student will qualify for before they start applying to college. Now you can get a better handle on the situation. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA, has created the FAFSA4caster, an online tool that allows you to fill in basic financial information and receive an estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. This is especially helpful if cost plays a major role in where your son or daughter goes to college. Note: the link is down on the bottom righthand side of the homepage.
On her College Solutions blog, Lynn O’Shaughnessy writes about the Edvisors website and the financial aid resources available there.
Assistance with picking colleges All public colleges are not created equal. Nina Friend of HuffPost College shares what are considered the 14 “best buy” public colleges as ranked by Fiske Guide for 2015.
With so much focus on top tier colleges and their meager acceptance rates, most parents and students lose sight of all the very good institutions most high school graduates end up attending. In his post on Teen Life Blog, Andrew Belasco points out that 75 percent of students who applied to college in 2012 were accepted to their first choice school. He also concentrates on the hardworking B students and the colleges that are a good fit for them.
With new college search sites popping up regularly and high schools subscribing to services like Naviance, it’s hard to know the smartest and safest places to look for college information. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) provides tips on how to pick the best sites to search for colleges.
Getting ready for freshman year, maybe What happens when your teenager tells you that he changed his mind about going to college this fall? College Parent Central shares advice on the best way to approach this sudden change of plans and help your child make the right decision.
Talking with your teenager about college With her third child leaving for college in the fall, Lisa Heffernan of Grown & Flown finally writes the letter she had always meant to compose for her sons as they headed off. Check it out to get some ideas for your own letter or just advice you may want to impart on your own child during the ride to campus.
Suzanne Rust has written an A-Z guide for parents whose children are beginning college in the fall for Family Circle magazine. Read to the very end because the last two pages include observations and recommendations from experienced parents and students.
NACAC has a great post on its site for high school students on how to talk to their parents about college. But I think parents can learn just as much by reading it. Understanding your role and how best to help your student approach college planning without taking complete control will make the whole process run smoother for your family.
Summer reading for the entire family Valerie Strauss of the Washington Post’s Answer Sheet blog shares suggestions from college admissions counselors on the best books to read this summer for parents, students and everyone else.
Saving your Common App application If your college freshman wants to save her 2013-2014 college application, she needs to visit the Common App site before July 23, where she can find directions on how to capture her info. This applies particularly to a student whose final transcript has not yet been sent to her college, because once the 2013-2014 site closes, her account will no longer exist.
Please share advice and links to other helpful articles in the comments section below.