As you choose a school or college:

Many parents are applying to schools for their children, or helping their young people apply to schools and colleges. I have been told that the following advice has been useful. Be realistic; if a school or college does not select your student, perhaps it is not the best school for your child anyway. You and your child should be looking for goodness of fit with a school. It should be the right fit academically, socially and philosophically. Ideally your and your child will visit a prospective school or college, such as attending athletic events, drama presentations or science fairs. Many colleges have “Picnic Day” or “Open Campus” days when anyone can visit the campus and see lab demonstrations as well as recreational events such as parades and sports. As you research schools be sure to be clear with your student that the selection process is a mutual process between parents and schools. The student might express preferences, but should not be given the impression that he or she can “choose” a school. Nor should he or she be given the impression that an admission is guaranteed because of family history, excellent grades, or a verbal commitment. Be sure to tell the truth as you are interviewed or complete forms about your child. Schoolls and colleges often reserve the right to dismiss a child if the information on the application is found to be false, such as not disclosing a known learning disability when asked. Be sure to turn forms in on time! Every year schools and colleges receive applications late and turn away qualified students; don’t let one of them be yours. Keep records and receipts. Follow directions during the application process! This is a major complaint from schools and colleges, that applicants and families do not follow directions. Show up slightly early so you and your child enter a school interview or tour relaxed and ready to go. Don’t limit your options prematurely or count on anything until you have it in writing. If your child needs help with something to get into a school or college of his or her choice, get them help early, not during the application process. Don’t let your child overhear negative comments regarding himself, other students or the schools. And remember “No school or college is perfect. Choosing a school or college is like choosing a mate. You have to choose one with the faults you can live with.” MML


Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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