Navigating the College Admissions Process

As my younger son gets closer to embarking on his college career, I’m debating about taking a leave of absence from my job to navigate the process for/with him.  I’m actually joking, but a parent could easily make a full time job out of scheduling SAT tutoring and college visits, overseeing applications and essays, and meeting with the college counselors to micro manage the entire process to ensure the perfect “fit” for their child for the next 4 years.

As much as I’d somewhat like to be “that” parent, I’ve often felt like I missed that special micro management gene that knows the perfect activity for a class party, the perfect teacher gift, the perfect number of Gatorades for a successful team celebration, and the perfect SAT prep course for the perfect score.

My older son was the typical first child and very independently executed his college acceptance process, which I almost ashamedly admit to not reviewing a single application along the way.  “The baby”, as we still refer to our 6’5“, 16 year old will need more guidance and encouragement.

Knowing that tutoring him through the ACT/SAT testing was outside of my expertise, I consulted with Applerouth Tutoring and was very impressed with the services they offered. Those services and guarantees for higher scores came with a high price tag that unfortunately are only open to those families able or willing to “invest” in those extra points to ensure their children’s applications are competitive. That’s another blog post for another day.

I’m also reading “Colleges That Change Lives“, by Loren Pope. I love the idea of a small liberal arts college which I truly believe can catch a previously unengaged student off guard and give them their first Ah-Ha moment of their academic life.  I was one of those students that landed at beautiful Rollins College in Winter Park Florida after graduating from LaGrange High School in small town middle Georgia.  After enjoying spring break in Panama City Beach, FL, I returned home and declared I wanted to go to school in Florida.  At the interview with the school admissions counselor, my mother pleaded, “We’re from a small cotton mill town and Dede’s never really had a chance”.  Shocked and slightly embarrassed, we concluded our interview, toured the picturesque, lakeside campus highlighted by palm trees and Spanish- Mediterranean architecture, and six months later I moved into Ward Hall to experience the best four years of my life.

I may not be able to convince “the baby” to take the liberal arts route I so loved and forego the SEC big sports loving college atmosphere, I so hope he finds a “fit” that provides a few Ah-Ha academic moments and leads to a fulfilling career that allows him to reach his full potential in life.

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