College News for the Last Lazy Days of Summer

Advice and information for parents of college freshmen and high school students. 

By Anne Vaccaro Brady

For some parents it’s the first glance at a tuition bill when it suddenly registers that their child is going off to college soon. For others it’s the start or end of campus visits when they realize college is around the corner for their teenager. Whichever situation you’re in, your list of questions is probably growing, including some I haven’t already answered. To assist you, I’ve gathered a few helpful articles that should address your lingering concerns.

The Common App is live As of August 1, the 2014-2015 Common Application site is ready for your high school senior if he’s ready to start applying. This short post on the CommonApp’s blog for parents should calm your nerves.

Approach college tours as an adventure In the New York Times Jack Hitt chronicles how he used the college tour road trip as one long driving lesson with his high school junior. He and his daughter also learned that colleges don’t always live up to their reputations, a good thing in some cases, and one way to survive the trip is to break it up by playing tourist in cities and towns along the way. 

Understanding student loans Before you or your student applies for or accepts a loan to pay for college, read Jodi Okun’s advice for parents about student loans in her post on HuffPost College.

Community college and access to federal loans Most community colleges offer federal student loans, but a small percentage don’t, which is a big deal for anyone planning to attend one of these schools. If your student will need help paying for community college, read this article by Ann Carrns for the New York Times on understanding the implications if your community college doesn’t offer government loans. 

Saving money on college textbooks I hear as many complaints about the cost of books for college as I do about the price of tuition. In his article on USA Today College, Rolando Zenteno provides a list of five websites that connect students to cheaper textbooks.

Work-study puts more than money in a student’s pocket Inside Higher Ed reports on a new study that shows students who take advantage of the federal work-study program are more likely to graduate college and be employed after they receive their degree than those who don’t. If your child qualifies, make sure she takes advantage of the program.

Online degrees can be earned at traditional colleges Most of us hear the phrase “online degree” and immediately think of for-profit colleges. But in Jon Fortenbury’s article for USA Today College, he highlights five traditional universities where students can earn a college degree online. 

Success without a degree from a prestigious university Yes, it is possible, according to Tyler Kingkade of HuffPost College. He suggests that graduates who earned their degrees from “moderately selective” schools were on par in terms of income with their counterparts from more elite universities. Since everyone can’t gain admission to or afford a top tier school, this should alleviate some of your stress about where your high school senior is accepted.

Another look at the real cost of college No one denies that college is expensive, but according to David Leonhardt for the New York Times, the increase in college costs, as reported by the federal government, doesn’t reflect financial aid assistance from the feds or the colleges. His article is a reminder that students and parents shouldn’t shy away from schools with large price tags because those colleges are sometimes the most generous.

Share other articles you’ve found helpful in the comments section below.

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