People always say to new parents, “Don’t blink, they’ll be in college in no time. They are not kidding! It’s like you’ve just dropped them off for their first day of kindergarten and now they’re getting ready to go to college next year. So many emotions. Pride. Nervousness. Enthusiasm. Apprehension. You name it. Sometimes they all happen at the same time.
If your high school student is starting out looking for college, he’s probably inundated with college brochures, emails, and phone calls from all over the place. It can be overwhelming for students and parents. While every parent’s journey is different, here are some tips for parents of college students to bring some peace to the chaos.
Choosing the right college is personal
It’s easy to only consider colleges with well-known names (or party school reputations), mascot recognition, or where the local kid is going. Help your student find their best options based on their personal preferences.
Does the school offer a wide range of academic options in case they change their mind about this subject that they were so sure of since they were 9 years old? Is school affordable for your family’s budget? What are the admission requirements ? Check the schools website to see if your student feels a connection to campus culture.
The best way to find out if a campus is right for you is to visit
Register in advance for campus tours or day tours for parking instructions, suggestions for other activities, and more. Many high schools grant excused absence for college visits or you can schedule them during school vacations and find fun stops along the way.
Encourage your student to organize dates and deadlines
After parents of high school students help finalize the college shortlist, it’s time to apply!
Each college has different timelines and deadlines for admission, accommodation, financial aid, visits, and decisions. It is important that your student keeps this information organized to ensure that no important dates are missed.
Parents Can Help Students Navigate Financial Aid
Financial aid is another one of those complicated processes with varying timelines, depending on the school.
Students will discover terms they have probably never heard of, such as 1040, transcripts, FAFSA, W-2, etc. Take advantage of the online and in-person financial aid session offered to high school parents and their students by many schools to learn how to navigate the complex process. Be aware of any priority deadlines for maximum consideration.
At the University of Nevada, Reno, our priority deadline is February 15 for the upcoming academic year for the FAFSA and Institutional Methodology Form for non-FAFSA filers.
Investing a little time can pay off big
Be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities. Does the neighborhood breakfast offer scholarships for children in the region? Sometimes it’s not advertised and it’s definitely worth asking. Does your job offer scholarships or university aid