Admissions Expertise Any tips on getting the most out of campus tours and info sessions? College Tours are a great way to get a real sense of the campus and its culture. The best time to do this is when the college is in session and the students are on campus Attend the information talk that the admissions offices give and take the campus tour. Ask questions of your tour guide and then, after the guided tour, take one on your own. Visit the student center and see what kinds of clubs and activities are popular on campus. Get a copy of the school newspaper and find out what the controversial issues or hot topics are. Don’t be shy about asking questions of students you meet--it has been my experience that students are happy to talk about their college experiences. Use this campus visit wisely--if you have a learning difference and expect to use accommodations, make an appointment to see the Office of Disability Service. You will get an idea of what accommodations they can provide, see how well the office runs and get a feel for how user friendly they are. If you play a sport, make an appointment to see the coach. Eat in the cafeteria so you can sample the food and also see how the students interact. If you are seeing more than one campus a day or several in a week, take good notes or the details may get forgotten! Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. If I haven’t found the right extracurriculars, can I still appear to be a dedicated student? One way that colleges get to know you and what you are passionate about is by what you choose to do in your free time. They are not impressed with students who join many organizations but are only superficially involved. You may not love an activity immediately, but you should try to find something where you have the chance to grow as a person and the passion may follow. If you haven’t found a good fit with your school’s clubs, try your local community organizations or those affiliated with area religious institutions. Volunteering your time and helping others may reveal your talents and strengths. 212 Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. Tuition aside, what benefits and drawbacks exist by going to school in-state vs. out-of-state? Whether you attend college in your home state or away is less important than what you do when you are there. If you stay fairly close to home, the good news is that it is easy to get home. That can also be the bad news. Students who come home many weekends (some every weekend!) do not transition well into college. They are still tied to friends and events at home and are not getting involved at college. Studies show that students who engage in activities on campus--especially early on-- report being happier and are more likely to graduate. 761 Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. In all of your years working with students, what were some of the most unexpected admissions successes you witnessed? A few years ago I worked with a wonderful young lady who, for various reasons, had not been successful in high school. After some persuasion, she went to a college that was not her first choice, but one where she had a chance to grow as a student. After two years at this college she had blossomed-- she had developed study skills, excellent grades and had the chance to become a leader. Having gained new skills, accomplishments and confidence, she transferred to a very competitive college where she is both very successful and happy. 735 Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. How can I work with schools to boost my financial aid? Are there other sources of student aid? Your family has new information--extenuating circumstances that need to be explained to the Financial Aid offices of the colleges. Be proactive and contact them now, so that they can include this new information in their formula or exercise professional judgment. Your parents should write a letter explaining that they were recently laid off and be specific as to how this will affect their ability to pay for college. Ask the colleges what other information and documents they may want in order to verify your current financial situation. Be sure to follow up to ascertain they have everything they need. 317 Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. To find scholarships, where should I look, what's needed of me, and which ones seem craziest? When you search for scholarships, make sure that you are not getting scammed. Rule number one is that legitimate scholarships do not charge you money to apply. Even a nominal amount should raise a red flag. If you aren’t sure a scholarship is reputable, do a little research. If other students had bad experiences with a company, you may find that information online. The Federal Trade Commission also has very helpful information (http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/scholarship/index.shtml). 503 Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. If your parents are too involved, can they hurt your chances? Parents who hover above their children have earned the name “helicopter parents” and it isn’t a compliment. Some parents have taken control of the search and application process--so much so that they raise red flags with admissions offices. Parents have to learn to let go and let the student lead and this is a good time to do it. Some colleges help this process by having one tour for parents and one for students so that the students will feel more comfortable asking questions. Parents should not fill out their child’s college application and should stay out of the essay as well. Admissions officers want to hear the student’s voice in the essay, not anyone else’s. Of course there is a place for parents in the process --to support and encourage their child, to help them discover what is important and meaningful and to be a sounding board. Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed. How can parents help students with the college search and application process? Parents need to let the students take ownership of the college process and avoid taking charge. When parents are overly invested, it can become obvious to the admissions offices--parents may refer to this as “our application” or call too often with questions the student should be asking. These are red flags. Let the student drive the process. When you participate in college tours, hold off giving your opinion until the student has given hers. However, there is one very important area where parents need to be as open and clear with their student as possible. If finances are an issue, be honest. Sit down with your child and discuss how much money you will be able to contribute. This doesn’t necessarily mean the student needs to limit where he applies, but it may mean that final decisions may take financial and merit aid into consideration. Likes Like This Answer Already Liked This Answer Thank you, this item will be reviewed.