BACK TO SCHOOL
BY CHRISTINA GUERRERO
THE COLLEGE APPLICATION process can
be complex and confusing at times, but planning ahead can make a di;erence. It involves
starting early in high school, then checking o;
a list of key steps to get that dream admission,
advises Rob Franek, a former college admissions o;cer who advises parents and students
on the college application process.
“It is so empowering to students and par-
ents to feel like they get this process,” says
Franek, author of several pre-college admis-
sions books. “It’s a knowable thing, and it can
actually be enjoyable.”
Franek, senior vice president–publisher
of The Princeton Review (princetonreview.
com), which provides online and in-person
tutoring and test prep, travels extensively to
high schools and colleges across the nation to
give talks on college admissions to educators,
parents and students. Prior to that he spent
six years as a college admissions o;cer for
Wagner College in New York City. Franek, a
Costco member, shared with ;e Connection
;ve tips to help you and your son or daughter
manage the college application process with-
out losing your mind.
START PLANNING. ;e summer a;er
sophomore year of high school is the perfect
time to start talking to students about college
admissions. However, the earlier you start the
conversation with your kid about the college
experience, the quicker you can di;use some
of the fear and stress around the college application process. ;e sooner your child begins
to learn about the di;erent types of colleges,
the more excited and con;dent he or she will
be making the decision.
STAY ON TASK. Make sure your student knows his or her job, which is twofold:
Do well in high school and do well on standardized tests, such as the SAT or the ACT.
;e two most important factors that students
are evaluated on from a college admissions
standpoint are standardized test scores and
high school transcripts. Schools are also looking to see if your student challenged him- or
herself throughout high school.
CONNECT WITH COLLEGES. A;er
you’ve helped your student do online research
to narrow down potential colleges, if possible
take a formal tour of each campus with a
student tour guide to meet as many students,
faculty members and advisers as possible.
Your student should have lunch in the dining
hall, sit in on a class while it is in session
and visit the career center. Ask about career
resources that are available, such as internships and study abroad programs. If your
student is asked to interview while on campus,
always take the opportunity: Very seldom will
that interview hinder his or her chances of
being accepted; instead, it will generally
enhance chances of admission.
APPLY FOR ADMISSION. ;e national
average number of colleges each student
applies to is six to eight. Your student should
apply only to schools where he or she found
the right ;t, which includes academics, campus culture, ;nancial aid and career services. If
you’ve really done your research, visited
enough campuses and gathered enough opinions, your student should be comfortable and
happy attending any of those schools.
;ere’s no room for error on the college
essay or personal statement, which means
there’s no room for poor grammar or poor
punctuation, so parents and students should
use their network of teachers, counselors and
parents as editors to clean up any mistakes.
APPLY FOR FINANCIAL AID. ;e average cost of attendance, including tuition, room
and board, fees and books, for one year of
public university across the U.S. is $19,400; for
one year of private university it is $42,000.
About 40 percent of the scholarship dollars the
typical student earns comes directly from the
schools they attend, based on high GPA and
SAT/ACT scores. ;e other biggest source of
aid comes from the federal government.
To make your student eligible for ;nancial
aid from colleges, apply through the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA;
fafsa.ed.gov; studentaid.ed.gov) program, which
is federally sponsored by the Department of
Education. Students and families that the government deems too wealthy to receive any
direct aid from colleges through this process
may be quali;ed for subsidized Sta;ord loans,
which are generally paid back at a lower interest rate, compared with other loans, a;er the
student has graduated. C
STUDENT ACE THE
OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to watch a video from The
Princeton Review for tips on a college
interview. (See page 13 for details)