My Ideal College shares how to make the college search process easy.

How To Make the College Search Process Easy

Our family has a New Year’s Eve tradition of making fondue at home. I love this tradition for many reasons. One is the chocolate fondue. The other is that the fondue process forces us to sit, relax, and talk. It’s not a cook, put on the table, eat, and then go our separate ways. It’s a process where you sit together, choose what you want to put in the pot, and then you allow it to cook in the broth for a few minutes. We have steak, chicken, pork, and a variety of veggies – all in bite-sized pieces. We easily spend more than an hour of cooking, eating, and chatting.

My Ideal College shares how to make the college search process easy.

Being New Year’s Eve, our discussion includes our resolutions for the upcoming year. One of my resolutions is to be able to hold a plank position for 2 minutes. This led to an impromptu family competition of who could hold a plank the longest. My boys did outlast me but not by as much as I thought they would. #momwin

Now that my oldest child is a sophomore in high school, his resolutions are more about the college search and his career path. He does aspire to be a YouTube star. Luckily, he is realistic and knows he needs other income as he builds his YouTube empire.

I hear from many parents of first-time high schoolers. They know they need to help their child in their college search, but they don’t know where to start. Their child may have ideas for their future but what is the right answer? How can we help our kids without spending wasted countless hours and money finding the solution?

I am going to make this easy and break it down for you…

First, I want you to approach the college search process as a project. With any project, you need to outline action items, who’s responsible for completing the action items, and due dates for each action item. Your child will be responsible for most action items. However, there will be some you need to do and you need to guide your child along the way.

Next here are some action items your child should be doing broken down by grade:

9th grade – Explore extracurricular activities that they will enjoy and build new skills, it could be a sport, a learning a new language, technology related, etc.

10th grade – Start exploring careers of interest, meet with people in that career, identify the education needed for that career.

11th grade – Plan which colleges you want to tour, find when college fairs will be in your area.

12th grade – If you are going to college, look for scholarships to help offset costs. Keep up with good study habits and celebrate!

The college search and application process requires a lot of paperwork. Do you need some organization in your life? Check out the My Ideal College Countdown Organizer. You get a full list of exactly of what you need to do by grade plus a place to track actions and keep those important documents in one place.

Regardless if your child follows a path to a four-year college, goes to technical college, or takes a gap year, you need to help them plan for their future.

Want more guidance in your life in how to help your child in the college search process? Book a complimentary strategy session with me. I can answer your questions and provide advice on what to do next. You can email me at laurie@myidealcollege.org to schedule a time.

Tell us in the comments what your plans are this year to help your child in the college search process.

An Insider’s Guide to College Campus Tours

How am I an insider? A little-known fact about me: I am a retired college campus tour guide. That’s me circled with my fellow tour guides, known as the Ambassadors.

The Ambassadors were group of students who had many different responsibilities around college campus including serving as hosts at special functions, making alumni donation calls, and one of my favorites, giving campus tours. I walked prospective students and their parents around the campus and told them all about the school I loved. I would show them the buildings for the different majors, the gym, library, dining hall, common area, dorms, etc. As Ambassadors, we had scripts we would follow, as well as answer any questions. I still remember the biggest question I would get asked, “Where is the beach?” Our school tag line was “UNC by the Sea” yet the beach was 10+ miles away.

Prepare your questions ahead of time – You don’t want to leave a college campus tour saying “I wished I had asked about X.” Think of the questions you want to ask ahead of time and write them down. Both you and your child should do this. I am sure your questions will be different. 

Visit the school at night and on weekends – What is the atmosphere like around the college campus? Is there are lot of noise and partying? Is everyone in the library studying? Are there lots of people walking around or is it desolate? Is campus security around? You can ask these questions during a tour but also take a look yourself to get the real answer.

Ask to sit in on a class or two – This could be a general class and/or one in the major your child is interested in. This is a great opportunity to see teaching styles, interaction with students, class size, questions that are asked, etc.

Schedule time with a professor – This is a wonderful opportunity to ask questions about expectations of students, workload, the best way to communicate, how often they are available, etc. If your child knows what they want to major in, they should definitely do this.

Preparing ahead, planning the questions you want to ask, and making appointments with the people you want to see will provide you with a fuller understanding of campus life for schools your child is interested in. Comment below with additional questions you may have or tour tips you’d like to share.

Is your child still unsure about what they want to major in? Being undecided can impact the years they are in school and how much money comes out of your wallet. Set up a complimentary strategy session to ask your questions so we can help. Click here to set up a time or give us a call at 678-761-3550.

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