This series on “A Conversation About College” covers some of the more pressing questions about college admissions that were asked at a workshop I ran at the end of March at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury, Connecticut:
Q: What college should we select?
As far as figuring out what type of colleges to select, that’s something that comes with time, conversation and research. There are many factors that go into defining at which type of school your son or daughter will do well. For example, he or she should be thinking about attributes such as location, size of the student body, cost, private or public and reputation. Once these bigger ticket items have been identified, then you can start doing some visits and online research to see what appeals to your child and what doesn’t. When I work with clients individually, I walk them through developing a college list and this exploration I just mentioned is the first step.
Q: How do we know which colleges are best?
The honest answer here is that your son or daughter has to first understand what is most important to them. Once they have a good grasp on their values, interests, personality style and skills (what I refer to as their VIPS), then you have a starting point for identifying which schools are going to be the best matches for him or her. One of the services included in my Early Exploration Package is a profile review where I help a student identify these VIPS and then use them to begin their college search.
Q: What are the best things to look at in a college?
The best things to look at are the things that are most important to your student which takes me back to the previous two questions. Your first step is to help him or her identify their VIPS, get a good handle on what is most important to them in their search and then start visiting schools, attending college fairs, and doing online research. Of all these things, going on some college visits will end up being one of the more important things you can do. A few months ago I wrote a blog about tips for high school juniors. One of those tips was about campus visits - even if your son or daughter isn't sure which schools they might be interested in yet, just visiting a school because it's local can be so valuable in helping them identify what is and isn't important.
If you have any thoughts you would like to share on “A Conversation About College,” please use the comment box below – I would love to hear from you! You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
Eric Dobler is the president and founder of Dobler College Consulting. Follow him on Twitter.