As a parent, if your child is applying to college, you are basically applying as well. The application process is long and complicated, with several steps, questions, and deadlines along the way. As a student coach, I am always advocating that students take on more responsibility as they get older. They should spearhead the task of getting into college because it is their future at stake. However, there is only so much a student will know before starting the process.
This is where you, the parent, play a pivotal role. Managing the whole process from end to end is not a reasonable solution. You will get overwhelmed, and your child will become disinterested. Plus, this robs them of the opportunity to grow and mature as a person and student. Instead, think about the knowledge you have gained over the years. What questions do you wish you would have asked when you were their age. Based on research, and my experience as a youth coach and speaker. This is part 1 of my list of questions that your kids might not think to ask when looking at colleges.
Will all my classes be on one campus?
When we as humans experience something new and impressive, we become star-struck and maybe even overwhelmed. This is what tends to happen when a high school student tours a campus for the first time. They are preoccupied with looking at the buildings, watching the students, and taking in all the facts and figures that are being thrown at them. This where the parent can step in and ask questions on their behalf.
It’s essential to know how far away their classes will be from each other. If everything is within walking distance, as is the case at smaller schools, then they are free to create their schedule as they want. There is no reason to worry about taking two classes back to back. However, if the college has several campuses and requires students to take a bus to travel back and forth, this could cause an issue. Students might be unable to take certain classes because they won’t make it on time.
If a school has multiple campuses, it’s important to know which majors host their courses on which one. For example, let’s say the majority of business courses take place on Campus A. If today’s tour only covers Campus B, then you are not getting the full picture of the school. The beauty and functionality of campus are pointless if you won’t be spending time on it. You want to make sure you take a tour of the campus you will be spending the most time at.
Lastly, multiple campuses mean additional transportation. For students who are used to spending an entire day in one building, the idea of mastering a bus schedule, on top of a new school, new friends, a new town might be too much to take. I have spoken to several graduates over the years who talked about being unable to adjust and having to transfer home as a result.
Speak with your child about what they need to succeed, including class location. Once you determine this, you can work with MyKlovr’s Custom Recommendations section and find colleges that fit this need. This allows you to spend time looking at the right colleges and avoid wasting time at the wrongs ones.
Do You Have An Alumni Network?
The idea of college itself can be an overwhelming proposition. High school students are thinking about things like the SATs, essays, campus visits, major, living away from home, and amongst other things. Essential items such as career prospects and applying to jobs might be pushed to the back of their minds simply because they are perceived to be years away. However, you, as a parent, are aware of how quickly time flies by.
You are also aware of how competitive the job market can be and the importance of having an advantage when applying. While your child is looking at classes, you can be thinking about what comes after college. Be sure to enquire regarding the school’s alumni network. A good school will have relationships with graduates and pipeline that allows new grads to apply to companies where alumni currently work. By showing that they have a job placement partnership with past students, they are proving that they understand the importance of employment after graduation.
MyKlovr’s College Finder function can help you in your research. This function allows you to review various schools for what they offer, including things like alumni relations, job placement, career readiness, and much more. Any school you are giving serious thought to should be providing these types of services to your child.
Do You Partner With Any Local Businesses?
This last question for today’s list also falls in line with career readiness. As we covered earlier, you are much more aware of how the corporate world works because you have worked in it. As you already know, companies will always prefer a candidate with experience if they are going to spend time and resources on a new employee they want proof that they have performed like a valuable member of a team before.
The best way to gain experience as a college student is to serve in one, if not several, internships. The college your child attends must emphasize placing their students into these types of opportunities. Be sure to ask questions about how the school’s career center finds internships for the students. Specifically, what kinds of partnerships do they have with local businesses. It’s one thing to have a platform that collects and presents open internships, but a good school will have partnerships with companies and a pipeline for placing students each semester.
Once again, the College Finder function can help here. When reviewing schools, be sure to check out the career center and internships. See what past students and graduates have to say about the opportunities that were open to them. Doing this type of research now will be invaluable in the future as your child’s list of schools continues to grow.
This was part 1 of my list of questions that your kids won’t think to ask. Your greatest asset when helping your child is the knowledge and experience you have gained over the years. It’s vital that they take responsibility, but it’s okay to ask questions that will help their choice. These questions were chosen based on the research I have done over the past few years. We will continue to release more questions in this series throughout the year.
Kyle Grappone is the founder of To The Next Step, an educational coaching and services company designed to prepare students for the next steps in life, including college, entering the workforce, and the real world. He offers several student-focused services including one on one coaching and on-demand courses. You can learn all about it at www.ToTheNextStep.org or by emailing him directly at Kyle@ToTheNextStep.org.