A Month of Big Decisions

March 22, 2011

  • March 29th –  “Ten Biggest Mistakes Made by Parents During the College Planning Process” I will be speaking on this topic at Hopkinton High School from 7-8 pm – Rm A219.  This talk is geared to parents of 9th – 11th graders.  Come join us for a lively discussion!
  • March 30th – “Race to Nowhere” This documentary film by a parent that challenges the educational system in the US is a call to action for change.  Free tickets for the Hopkinton showing are here:   http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/high_1/PDF/RTN.pdf. For additional locations and to watch the trailer visit www.racetonowhere.com.
  • Information needed: Please send me recommended tutors for individual subjects and SAT/ACT preparation in Hopkinton and surrounding towns. I often get requests and will keep a file of referrals. Thanks.

For Seniors:
March can be a stressful month as some are still receiving decisions from schools right up until 4/1. Others may be undecided on a path and are still thinking about attending a school with rolling admission or a community college. It can be hard when some students are so sure of their plans and others feel lost in the process.

Try to use the time between now and May 1st to help your child sort out which school will be the best fit for him or her. This may take multiple visits to the school if it is nearby, spending a night on campus, talking to students, attending classes, speaking to professors, etc. Taking a realistic look at finances is also important before decisions are made.

Now is a good  time for your child to read the school newspaper online and visit some of the student review websites. These are just student opinions but if they keep getting a consistent message on multiple sites about the culture of a school, your student can get an idea if it feels like a good fit. These should only be used as a supplement to in-person visits!

Some sites to visit:

For Juniors:
Plan now for spring SAT/ACT testing if you have not yet done so.  This is also a great time to sit down and have a college meeting with your child to talk about what he or she is looking for in a college experience and sharing any input you have as a parent. Some families have a limit to the distance from home they want in a college and others need to set parameters on the finances. (Remember that the cost of attendance can change depending on merit and financial aid that may be offered later on.)

Start thinking about visiting colleges over April break.  Try to make these fun trips; your time with your teen at home will go quickly! The students will usually not be on the campus over the summer so school breaks are good times to see a school when possible.

For students with learning challenges:
Your student may need more time to decide on a plan so getting going early is important.  Students on an IEP should be developing a transition plan with their team starting at age 14. Often the parent will have to stress the importance of spending time on the transition plan.
There is a great two-day conference on transition from high school, put on by the Federation of Children with Special Needs and offered three times a year. There is still room to sign up for the April 1-2 workshop in Springfield.  Visit the website for lots of helpful information about the transition process.

College fairs for students with learning challenges:
March 24th, Woburn High School (scroll down to see flyer )
April 14th, Nashoba Regional High School (scroll to page 2 for information)

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