Leveling the Playing Field: Essential Steps for Parents of College-Bound Teens

January 29, 2023

The inequalities in education can pose challenges for college-bound teenagers and create an unfair college admissions process. As a parent, it is crucial to take deliberate steps to level the playing field for your teen. In this blog post, we will discuss five strategies that can give your family an edge, decrease stress, save time and money, and increase your confidence during the college search process.

Here are 5 steps you can take to give your family and edge. 

  1. Explore a Broad Range of College Options: To mitigate the risks associated with low admit rates and increase your chances of landing generous financial offers, cast a wide net when considering colleges. Explore a diverse range of options, both in terms of selectivity and financial aid opportunities. This approach will provide your teenager with more choices and increase their chances of finding the right fit.
  2. Demonstrate Interest in Targeted Colleges: Attending virtual tours, information sessions, and other admissions events shows colleges that your student is genuinely interested. By actively engaging with the institutions your teenager is considering, you not only gather valuable information for making informed decisions but also give your teen an advantage in admissions. Demonstrating interest can set them apart from other applicants.
  3. Encourage Activities that Showcase Strengths and Interests: Gone are the days when colleges favored the perfectly “well-rounded” student. Today, depth of interest and specialization are highly valued. Encourage your teenager to pursue activities that align with their strengths and passions. Whether it’s academic clubs, sports, community service, or creative endeavors, focusing on their areas of interest will make their college applications stand out.
  4. Register Your Student for the SAT or ACT: While many colleges no longer require standardized test scores, a strong score can still improve your teen’s application and financial aid opportunities. It is worth considering having your student take the SAT or ACT. The advantage is that students can now withhold their scores if they are not satisfied with the results, eliminating the risk associated with taking these tests.
  5. Utilize Net Price Calculators and Compare Estimated Costs: Take advantage of Net Price Calculators provided by various colleges to estimate the costs of attendance. Comparing these estimates will help you plan and understand the potential differences in expenses among different institutions. Being informed about financial aspects earlier in the process will contribute to better decision-making and financial planning.

By implementing these five strategies, you can take better control of your college search, reduce stress, save time and money, and create a fairer process for your teenager. While there are no guarantees in college admissions, these steps will give your family an edge and increase your confidence throughout the journey. Remember, the goal is to provide your teenager with opportunities and options that will set them up for success in their higher education endeavors.

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