Are you a high school student's parent wondering how to navigate the college admissions process? It can be overwhelming, confusing, and often frustrating. As a parent, you want the best for your child, but with thousands of colleges and universities to choose from, how do you find the right fit?
Trust me, it’s not you, it’s them. Colleges are constantly moving the goalposts and changing their standards and their “institutional priorities.” Every year more and more colleges are becoming less predictable. It’s confusing to us all but we can at least discuss what to expect from the college admissions process, what colleges are looking for in their applicants, and how to make informed decisions that will set your child up for success.
What Colleges Are Looking For?
Let’s start with institutional priorities. If a college is looking for a particular type of student, such as a women’s lacrosse player or a talented trombonist, your child may not fit their criteria.
So, how do you determine what colleges are looking for in their applicants?
The first step is to do your research. Speak to admissions officers, attend college fairs, and visit college campuses. Ask questions about the college’s mission, values, and what type of student they want to attract.
It’s also important to understand that not all colleges are created equal. Highly selective colleges and universities have become increasingly competitive, and admission rates are lower than ever. However, there are many great colleges out there that may be a better fit for your child.
Understanding Your Child
The next step is understanding your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and interests. What are their academic strengths? What are their extracurricular activities? What type of environment will they thrive in? These are all important questions to consider when searching for colleges.
It’s important to remember that every child is unique and has their own individual strengths and weaknesses. What works for one child may not work for another. Avoid applying to colleges based solely on reputation or prestige. Instead, focus on finding colleges that will fit your child well.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls
One of the most common pitfalls in the college admissions process is applying to too many schools. Throwing spaghetti on the wall and hoping something sticks is tempting, but this is not a good strategy. Instead, focus on quality over quantity. Help your child identify a handful of colleges they are truly interested in and are a good fit.
Another common pitfall is the misconception that safety schools are the same as 30 years ago. Colleges are highly competitive, and what was once considered a safety school may not be anymore. Research each college carefully and determine the likelihood of admission before applying.
Schedule a Free Discovery Call
At Strategic Admissions Advice, we can help you navigate the college admissions process and set your child up for success. We offer a free discovery call, followed by a strategy session where we can help you understand the process and create a college list that is tailored to your child’s needs.
Don’t let the college admissions process be a source of stress and anxiety for you and your child. To learn more about our services, click here to schedule a complimentary Discovery Call.