Today is overcast and a little rainy. It’s a perfect day for planning the remaining two months of our life as parents of a high school a senior. Our son is getting ready to accept an offer of admission. Hold on to your hats, it’s going to be blur!
Get the Calendar Ready
Official offers of admission have all been received and invitations to each college’s admitted student visit programs have arrived. My son wants to revisit all three colleges before making his final decision about where to attend. The first two weeks in April now include prom, Easter, three college visits, and filing our income tax report. May is the nationally accept “Candidate Reply Date” where students offered admission to a college are expected to submit a deposit to the college they’ve chosen to attend. After that comes graduation. Then my husband and I become parents of an incoming college freshman as we become empty nesters.
Get the Spreadsheet Ready
I’m a spreadsheet kind of gal, so I have to lay out each financial aid package in one comprehensive spreadsheet in order to best evaluate each award. My son has offers and award packages from two public universities and one private college. It’s already quite impressive how close the cost of a private college education can be to a state university. I encourage all college-bound teens not to rule out visiting and applying to private colleges. You really won’t know the total cost of a private college education until you file the FAFSA and receive your financial aid award package.
Get Ready to Discuss the Options
Now comes the tricky part–discussing the pros and cons of each college so my son can make the best decision about where to attend. We’ll also discuss if he has changed his mind about his major. It’s not uncommon for students to change their major three times once they’re in college and many high school seniors will fluctuate even after they’ve chosen a major when applying.
Numerically ranking each of the following should be helpful in weeding out what’s equal among the college options so he can zero in on the one or two things that are the true decision drivers.
- Academics Majors
- Financial Fit
- Activities Opportunities (study abroad, internships, etc.)
- Overall all look & feel
- How I felt when I visited
I know he’s looking forward to making the final decision and having that part behind him so he can look forward to graduating, summer, and, finally, moving to college in the fall.
Meanwhile, I’m reflecting on how fast time flies. Nancy Berk, author of College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind sums it up nicely:
One minute you’re cutting crusts off grilled cheese sandwiches, and the next you’re cutting college checks. – Dr. Nancy Berk
I’m not quite ready to think about fall yet, but come May, I’ll at least add the dates for college move-in day and Parents Weekend to my calendar.
Click here to read more from the series:
College Visits with My Son.