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College Decision Day 2019 is past. How is everyone feeling? Lessons Learned?

TheodenTheoden Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
edited May 2 in Parents Forum
How am I feeling?

1) Relieved
2) Happy that my son is very happy with his choice. Knox College. I am 100% certain he will thrive there.
3) A little wistful over his second choice that he said "no" to. Would rather have him closer to home. I'm processing this. ;-)
4) Very grateful that two, small, liberal arts colleges were generous with merit aid.
5) Very grateful for the robust and affordable SUNY system, which would have been an excellent alternative had the LAC's not been to his liking or affordable. And failing that, very grateful for the robust and super-affordable CUNY system, had he chosen to stay in NYC for school.
6) Very grateful that my son had some excellent, but difficult choices to make.

Lessons Learned?

I share these with some measure of embarrassment - but hey, live and learn.

1) Plot out your reach, match and safeties well. The bulk should be match. Make sure the safeties are places your son/daughter wants to go. My son's older sister in 2017 aimed for reaches with only one match and 2 safety schools. She was shocked that she got accepted to her one match and only one of her safeties. Her match was not affordable. This go-around we were much more strategic, and as expected, he got into none of his reaches, all but one of his matches and all of his safeties. He was pretty realistic with the Naviance scatterplots as a guide.
2) Learn about ECF and Merit vs. Need based aid. Check on these things at each school you apply to.
3) If you are divorced, learn about the differences between FAFSA only and FAFSA + CSS profile schools. Sadly, I was unaware of all this until we got my son's acceptances. This is more art than science and you can't guarantee which schools will give good merit scholarships, but we would have been more productive and removed some of the schools from consideration. If money is not a factor and both parents live together, this is probably not useful advice.
4) This is particular to my son's temperament, but, perhaps limit your college visits till *after* you get your acceptances. Maybe you'll want to do college visits to certain "types" of colleges before you apply: Ivy, Urban, Big State School, small LAC to get a feel for what your student likes.. My son didn't want to visit any schools that didn't accept him or were affordable. It was a bit of a whirlwind after the acceptances, but we reduced it to 5 schools he was interested and we could afford...so he scheduled 5 accepted student day visits, 4 of which had a student overnight as part of the program. My daughter, in 2016 and 2017 only ended up visiting several schools (and loving one) that rejected her.
5) Limit the time you talk about college with your children after they get acceptances. It's exciting - but my son starting avoiding me. ;-)
6) Let them decide. You can inform and suggest (even provide an excel spreadsheet with different categories ranked 1-5), but in the end, they have to go to school there. I told my son he could go to any of his top 5. In the end, they were all sound choices. So even though I got enamored with one school - any one of the 5 would be a good move.
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Replies to: College Decision Day 2019 is past. How is everyone feeling? Lessons Learned?

  • TheodenTheoden Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @blossom Yes - I remember with my daughter's cycle (HS class of 2017), one of her teachers thought it was prudent for us to take 19K in loans per year to send our daughter to college. Not gonna happen.
  • ChaosParent23ChaosParent23 Registered User Posts: 416 Member
    Start early. That's the biggest take-away I have from S19's journey. Maybe not as early as we did (late 6th grade), but by the end of middle school, you should at least be discussing college options in a broad sense. By early Sophomore year DS was making visits. Especially if your child wants a non local school like mine. There's no way we could've waited till junior year to make the bulk of the visits.

    What I would change: I think we waited 6-12 months too long for athletics recruiting. If our younger son continues to show promise, we'll do the same things we did w/ S19 but start a year earlier.
  • Cbear24Cbear24 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    feeling deja vu - it seems like S17 just went through this and he's halfway done, but S20 is now "on the clock" as they say in the NFL draft. Last time around the track for us.
  • 3js3ks3js3ks Registered User Posts: 313 Member
    blossom wrote:
    Really- a freshman is getting a departmental scholarship significant enough to pay the family's share?

    A departmental scholarship sure made a difference for this family. I don't understand why it wouldn't help?
  • Trixy34Trixy34 Registered User Posts: 1,155 Senior Member
    edited May 2
    Tired, and nervous about getting a waitlist call that could gum up the works. Also eager to start college tours with D22 so that we have a favorite safety going in to the application season 2.5 years from now.

    I have posted my reflections previously and don't care to repeat that ordeal/debate. Just - start early and prioritize safety schools.
  • TheodenTheoden Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
  • TheodenTheoden Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @Trixy34 So...we should NOT hope for the waitlist call? ;-) Funny, my D21 asked go to the "What SUNY am I?" informational session this Sunday. I'm also taking her on the CTCL informational meeting in NYC in late May.
  • TheodenTheoden Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    @threebeans That's one amazing kid you have on your hands.
  • 4gsmom4gsmom Registered User Posts: 663 Member
    @privatebanker re: #9 Agree. And work with them on contributing in class discussions and being a positive influence in the classroom. Not much more than that. Also, once in 9th grade, they should be getting to know their guidance counselor. Very well. Dropping in, even if just for a chat. They will be asking teachers to write letters and you want substantive letters about how they are in the classroom and you want the counselor to be able to write something personal as well.
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