January 30, 2011
For Parents of Current Seniors:
During this post-January time frame, it’s a challenge to keep our senior kids motivated to keep their grades up. But it’s important. Many students will not hear on their acceptances until March and during that time, schools will look at progress reports. If your child is on the borderline, these next two months can make a big difference. For students who are already accepted, they need to know that a school can rescind its offer if grades drop significantly in the second half of the year. So an occasional pep talk about hanging in there is a good idea.
The FAFSA: If you are applying for financial aid at a private or public school, you will need to fill out the FAFSA. I know I have mentioned this before, but it is worth repeating. Go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/# to get started. There is a help line open until midnight eastern time for questions. For those who need to fill out the CSS Profile for certain private schools, the FAFSA is a lot easier!
For Parents of Current Juniors:
I encourage everyone in Hopkinton to attend the junior college night at the high school on Thursday, February 10th. It is very helpful, and if your student can attend as well, all the better. You can split up into different sessions to cover more topics and it’s a good way to start getting them involved in the process. Not all school systems offer college guidance workshops the way ours does, so take advantage of them.
This is good timing for you and your child to begin to grasp the concept that the next 12-18 months of college preparation need to be driven by the student. This is often hard, as many students think that they can be a passive observer in the process! It all starts with recognizing (if they haven’t already) that junior year grades and extracurricular activities are very important. Colleges expect students to be working hard at the most challenging courses they can handle. Hopefully, there is a balance to be found so your child still finds time to enjoy being a teenager.
For parents of students with learning challenges:
The college preparation process can be stressful for all high school students — it can be particularly difficult for those who have to work harder to succeed in school. This is a good time to sit down with your child and make a game plan to keep on top of all that needs to be done. It is also an opportunity for your student to become more aware of their strengths and to learn to ask for help (without your prodding) in the areas in which they need assistance.