Friday, August 15, 2014

College Prep and The College Trip

So she didn't like Georgetown. We got to walk around this pretty campus.
Next week, my husband,, youngest daughter and I are embarking on what I hope is our last college touring trip.
Don’t get me wrong, going to visit colleges can be a lot of fun. We have done it multiple times with both of our older girls, and you would think the youngest had seen enough schools that she wouldn’t need to go to anymore.
But she is looking at some different colleges, and we don’t want to deny her the opportunity to explore some of the same places with a fresh eye. She is going into her senior year of high school, and did well enough on her standardized tests that those at least are off her plate.
My very organized oddest daughter created a spread sheet, with dates of upcoming standardized tests, and deadlines, but you can also download the very useful KapMap, which gives yo a month by month planing guide, form freshman through senior year of high school.
We looked at Hamilton College in winter since you need to love snow to go here.
Don’t stress if your kid is already past the first or second year of high school; though you may have missed some critical planning, you can double up and get back on track pretty quickly.
Some of the KapMap suggested guidelines include building a strong resume, with quality extra curricular activities and good grades, things that most parents of college bound students are already thinking about once their kid starts college.
What We Learned
One of the most important things we learned about the college process, having been through it with two kids (and ourselves, a hundred years ago) is that it really has to be all about the kid. Maybe you think the dorms look grotty - keep that to yourself. Unless your daughter solicits your opinion, don't say a word.
We have also learned to listen, but not speak during info sessions and college tours, unless the school encourages parents and kids to take separate tours. I actually love this - then we can ask the adult about safety, drinking parties and the food pyramid and not have our children give us the hairy eyeball.
Make it a Vacation
Don’t despair if you kid hates the college you are visiting. Maybe you found a cool art museum nearby, or a craft brewer. You might discover a great little vegetarian restaurant.
Think of the college touring trip as an opportunity to explore different areas, like Middlebury, VT or Washington, DC. Have fun with it.
Just be careful about how successful you want the college process to be. After all the testing, the applications, the tours, you face a new challenge - cramming in trips for all the admitted students days. 
And then you start paying tuition…

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/Kaplan Test Prep. I received compensation to write this post, and any opinions expressed are my own, and reflect my actual experience.” 

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