Recently I conducted a workshop on college admissions called, "A Conversation About College" at Sacred Heart Church in Southbury. I picked this title because I was more interested in finding out what families of college-bound sophomores and juniors were worried about. I wanted to hear their concerns and try to help them find ways to work through them.
After two hours of answering questions and dispencing advice about everything from standardized test preparation to how a student should balance academics and athletics, I felt like I had given them some hope that they could successfully navigate the college admissions journey.
Over the next several weeks, I will be replaying some of the questions that were asked and the answers I provided. If you are the parent of a college-bound high school student, I hope you will learn something by reading this. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please use the comment box below - I would love to hear from you!
And now, on to the first two questions:
How can I find a reputable college that will accept a "C/B-" student?
Honestly, this is something that will take a little research and a little time because the search won't just be about the grades as much as it will be about several other things including intended major, location, cost, size, type of student body, public or private - there are so many factors that go into prioritizing a college search and these are just a few of them. Once you have pinned down some of these items, you can then do a more thorough review of potential schools by reading reviews about them online, conducting college visits and attending college fairs. A C/B- student isn't a terrible thing by any means, but it does mean that other parts of the application like test scores, the essay and recommendations may be leaned on even more so to help make a decision. Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not your son or daughter's grades have been trending in an upward or downward direction. If they are trending up, a lot of schools will look favorably upon their academic record. If they are trending downward, then your list of potential schools will have to be very realistic.
How can I motivate my child to enjoy looking at colleges?
This is really a question that is dependent on which grade your child is in and where you guys are in the college search process. For a younger student, such as a freshman or sophomore, your best bet is to check out a local school and at least attempt to introduce the idea of college. For a student who is already in their junior year, it may be best to just sit down and talk with them and see if you can get them to tell you how they feel about the college search and visiting college campuses. Are they nervous? Scared? Intimidated? Do they feel like they are under a lot of pressure? A conversation like this can be very valuable towards getting them pointed in the right direction. Here is an article from the NY Times about a dad who found some ways to introduce his 9th grader to college visits. I really liked his approach and hope you find some value in it.
If you have any questions about the college application and admissions process, please use the comment box below – I would love to hear from you! You can also email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Dobler is the president and founder of Dobler College Consulting. Follow him on Twitter.