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Attending to Details

Once your senior has made a decision and returned the acceptance forms for financial aid and admissions, the long college planning journey is almost at an end – but not quite. What follows are a few final pieces of advice as you head into senior spring and summer.

End of Year Housekeeping Items

Final Application Form: Believe it or not, there is still one last application form to send it. It’s the end of year report, which your teen’s counselor will send to the college along with a transcript of his final grades. I mention this for two reasons - first, to remind you not to forget about it, and second, so that you can remind your senior that his final grades still count.  If you read the fine print on most college acceptance letters, it states that admission is contingent upon continued satisfactory academic performance. Would your child's acceptance be rescinded if he got his first B ever in the final semester? Undoubtedly not, but colleges do occasionally revoke their offer of admission to students whose final grades plummet.

Last Admission Tests: While it’s not necessary for students to take SAT Subject tests in May or June of senior year, it’s worth considering. Many colleges require students to achieve a certain level of proficiency in a foreign language. For students who begin a new language, the requirement may be as much as four semesters of language. However, they may be able to meet the proficiency requirement by earning a qualifying score on either an SAT Subject test or Advanced Placement test.  The same may be true for other requirements as well. My oldest daughter was able to place out of taking a chemistry course that was required for her engineering major on the basis of a high SAT Subject test score in chemistry.

Colleges also use Advanced Placement exam scores to determine course placement and sometimes to award college credit, so taking AP tests in senior year can also be a smart move. Check with your child’s college to find out if it would be to his advantage to take any SAT Subject tests or Advanced Placement tests.

Decisions, Decisions

Some time after your daughter commits to a college, she will receive a large packet of information, carrying with it decisions to be made and more forms to fill out. Here are a few of the issues you and she will be considering:

Housing: Where will she live? If she is planning to live on campus, which dorm will she choose? Will she opt for one that is all freshmen or a mixture of classes? Will she choose an alcohol and drug free hall, or a single gender hall perhaps? If she is given the choice, will she choose to room with someone she already knows, or opt for a stranger? If she chooses the latter, what kind of roommate will she request, and how will she describe herself? There’s a lot to think about.

Health Insurance: What are the options?

Immunizations: Which immunizations are required? Which are recommended? Is a physical exam required?

Orientation programs: When are they? Some colleges, particularly large public ones, schedule staggered orientation programs throughout the summer so that they can accommodate the large number of incoming freshmen. Smaller colleges often invite freshmen to arrive a week before upperclassmen so that they can participate in a variety of social activities, placement exams, and meetings with advisors. You will definitely want to write the dates for orientation on your calendar.

Pre-Orientation Programs: In addition to the formal orientation programs, some colleges offer extra, optional programs intended to bring a smaller group of students together. These range from outdoor adventures to service or arts-oriented activities, so if offered by your teen's college, you and she will want to review them.

These are just some of the many issues that you and your son or daughter will be facing as he or she prepares to begin college. But enough attention to details; let’s move on to more substantive matters, in the final article, Ending and Beginning.

Last article:  Ending and Beginning


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