Transferring summer college credits, requesting teacher recommendations and more.

This week’s post covers some of those loose ends parents and students face before high school and college begin again.


For college students
Transfer summer credits A student who took a course(s) over the summer at another college will need an official transcript sent to their home school to get those credits transferred. If the information on how to do this isn’t readily available on the visiting college’s website, your student can contact that school’s registrar’s office. While your student will receive credit for those summer courses, the grades will not count toward their GPA, though they will become a permanent part of their official transcript.

Accept financial aid To find out the portion of the college tuition bill your student (or you) is responsible for, your child will need to review and accept their financial aid on their student account. For incoming freshman, if that aid includes a federal loan which they plan to use, they must complete the online entrance counseling and provide references before the loan can be credited to their account. The processing of the loan takes a few business days once the online paperwork is completed, so to ensure the college bill can be paid on time, your student should accept and complete the requirements for all financial aid at least two weeks ahead of the payment deadline.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConfirm graduation Your college senior is heading back to campus expecting to graduate next spring. Unfortunately, I’ve heard of college students who found out too late that they were short the credits or required courses they needed to earn their diploma as planned. Before your senior returns to college, review the requirements for their major and their transcript with them to see where they stand. They should also schedule an appointment with their adviser and/or the registrar’s office for when they’re back on campus to get a “degree audit” to make sure they’ll be wearing their cap and gown next spring.

A requirements and transcript review with your underclassmen is helpful, too. We did this with our son late in his freshman year, which he said helped him better manage his future class schedules. Understanding his prerequisites and seeing where he had flexibility made it easier for him to work with his adviser and stay on track to graduate in four years.

For high school students
Request teacher recommendations Your senior’s guidance counselor must provide a recommendation for your teen for college, but your student will also need one from a teacher. Now is the time for them to reach out to one or two teachers via email or in-person requesting that recommendation. The most popular teachers receive the most requests, so your teen will want to get on those teachers’ lists now. If school isn’t in session, your student can try emailing their teacher(s), otherwise once school starts, they should ask in-person during the first week of classes. Once a teacher has agreed to write the letter, your student can put that teacher on their recommender list on their Common App account and have the online form sent directly to the teacher.

IMG_0948Prepare for application season Hopefully your high school senior has finished the list of colleges where they plan to apply. Check out my post on finalizing the list for tips on how to do this if they’re still working on it.

Once the list is complete, they should check each college’s application deadline and which use the Common App, then gather the materials necessary to fill out the applications. Their essay should be ready to go, too. They don’t have to start their applications right now, but keep in mind how much busier they’ll be once school begins.

I find it helps to set a completion deadline for all applications, whether it’s really early, like Halloween, or a little later like Thanksgiving, or even New Year’s Day. Most students, and their parents, do best with a goal.

What did your high school or college student need to finish up before heading back to classes? Please share in the comments section below.