December 2016 Parent News
The first thing to keep in mind is that you aren’t alone: there are many families on the same journey as you and your student. And these days, you might be seeing ads or receiving flyers offering to provide guidance and advice — for a fee, of course. Don’t be lured in by the sales pitch. There are many free resources available that can provide the same information. We reached out to our colleges for suggestions and several offered some helpful tips.
Start with your high school
High school counselor offices should be your first stop for initial guidance and for pointers on:
- where to find more information and what types of information you need to know
- interest and career assessments for your student
- school events such as college prep or financial aid nights (sometimes held in conjunction with parent-teacher conferences)
If your school has a college/career center, encourage your student to visit it.
Check for community workshops
Free college prep and financial aid workshops may be offered at your local library or community center or through community education. If there is a college near you, it also might hold workshops for prospective students and their parents.
Visit a college
If your student is already interested in specific colleges, schedule a meeting with their admissions and financial aid counselors. These college counselors are familiar with the concerns and types of questions often asked by families, have first-hand experience with the application and financial aid processes, and can offer advice related to your specific situation. Their knowledge is invaluable and, of course, free.
Use free online resources
If you’re short on time at the moment or are just in the initial stages of college planning, don’t overlook free online resources — but make sure they’re reputable. Here are a few we recommend:
- If you’re interested in private liberal arts colleges in Minnesota, our website is a good place to start. You can view profiles on all our colleges. Want to find out which schools offer specific majors, athletic programs and clubs, and activities in the arts? Head over to our college finder tool for your search. You can also request information from any or all of our member colleges — without leaving our site. Simply fill out our information request form.
- The College Board’s Big Future provides a wide range of information for students and parents on the college exploration and planning process.
- The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid website provides information on how to prepare for college and how to apply for financial aid. Also watch for free webinars on a variety of financial aid related topics and check out their blogs on federal student aid.
- The Minnesota Office of Higher Education has details on both federal and state financial aid programs.
Another option might be free podcasts on college admissions process, such as “Getting In” from Slate. When considering any podcast, be mindful of who produced it to avoid those with possible bias or hidden agendas.
If you’re still leaning in favor of using a paid consultant, check if the firm or person is a member of the Independent Educational Consultant Association and/or the Higher Education Consultants Association. Both of these nonprofits hold members to strict ethical guidelines and standards.
by Lisa Thompson
Did you know that the middle school years (grades six through eight) are actually an ideal time to begin thinking about college? That may seem too early, but studies have shown that beginning earlier pays off later. Here are three reasons why:
- It allows students to begin preparing academically for advanced classes in high school as well as seek out assistance if they’re struggling before it seriously impacts their high school academics.
- It provides students time to explore, reflect and research their interests and careers options long before they need to choose a college.
- It gives parents time to take stock of their finances so that families have realistic expectations on how they will pay for college.
Read more about getting ready for college in middle school.
Is your student already in 9th and 10th grade? Take a deep breath: there are still things students can do. This includes taking interest and skills assessments to find out which careers might be a good fit and then exploring those career options and the education needed for them — through online research and by talking with a high school counselor. You should also meet with your counselor to make sure your student is academically on track to only graduate from high school but also to get admitted to and succeed in college.
If you have a high school senior, they’ll soon be one semester closer to graduating. And by this time next year, they will have one college term under their belts. But that shift from high school student to college student can pose a lot of challenges — and not just academically. For many students, it’s the first time they’re on their own, making all their own decisions. That can be liberating, but also scary and stressful. Read some helpful advice for students from our colleges. (Yes, getting enough sleep is on the list!)
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St. Scholastica receives $1.2 million grant for STEM teacher training
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Jim Frey and Mary White Frey commit $1.5 million gift to Saint Ben’s
Gift from Edina couple will create scholarships at the College of Saint Benedict for students from under-represented communities.
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Concordia St. Paul adds MFA in Creative Writing
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Dream on: Antonio Gomez navigates undocumented path
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Hamline undergraduate chemistry student's research recognized internationally
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Football coach Jennison sets record for wins at Macalester
With the Scots' 48-36 victory over Cornell College on Oct. 29, Macalester College football coach Tony Jennison became the winningest coach in Macalester football history.
Saint Mary’s announces new 4+1 B.A./M.B.A. program
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Olympic hopeful fulfills his dream as a volunteer
Saint John’s University senior Cody Hollerich met people from across the world while working at the Velodrome in Rio de Janeiro.
CATIE Center awarded $6M for interpreter education
St. Catherine University’s CATIE Center was awarded two U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration grants totaling $6 million to advance interpreter education.
St. Olaf launches $200 million comprehensive campaign
St. Olaf College has launched For the Hill and Beyond: The Campaign for St. Olaf, which aims to raise $200 million to advance key programs and opportunities that directly benefit students.
Next year’s Tommie-Johnnie football game moves to Target Field
The first University of St. Thomas-St. John’s University football game in the Minnesota Twins’ stadium will add another fun chapter to what is one of the country’s best college football rivalries.
10 myths (and realities) of freshman year
Cincinnati Enquirer, Oct. 9, 2016
10 myths about the FAFSA and applying for financial aid
U.S. Department of Education, Oct. 10, 2016
The four biggest mistakes students make when applying to college
Washington Post, Oct. 20, 2016
The four untold benefits of hiring a liberal arts graduate
Medium, Nov. 15, 2016
A liberal arts degree is more important than ever
Forbes, Nov. 16, 2016