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Tips for Parents

Next to watching your child pass their road test and officially receive a government issued ID, witnessing their choice of college can be just as scary. Over the past 17 years, they have actually…grown up. As you watch their daily routine: getting ready for school, studying for a test, and making it to football practice on time, keep in mind that they will need to put the same amount of effort into their college search. There is no right or wrong way to go about seeking out the best school for your student, but your son or daughter will be the most important piece of the puzzle. Listed below are a few ways to remain sane, maximize time, and guide your student through the process of making one of life’s big decisions.

4. Talk to your student: You may be thinking Princeton, they may be thinking the local university.  Take time to listen and to discover the meaningful things that your student has to say about their goals and their college preferences. Try to get a feel for why they are considering certain schools and then go from there. Whether or not you think it is a great choice, you might be surprised at what you discover. Campus visits tend to be very telling, so start with a short list of colleges and grab a calendar.

3. Plan ahead:   Speaking of calendars, one of the best investments you can make during your student’s college search is to purchase one of those inexpensive little calendars that can be found at the Dollar Tree or the Dollar General store. I do not recommend using any Smartphone technology or work calendars because this particular calendar will need to be tangible and accessible for all members of the family. The best place to keep it is in the kitchen, near or on the common denominator appliance: the refrigerator. On the calendar, you will want to add campus visits, open house dates, times that admission counselors will be in your area, and admission/scholarship deadlines for each school your student is considering. (If you’re anything like me, you might want to get creative by matching the ink to the schools’ colors.) And voilà, you now have a road map.

2. Don’t hesitate to contact the admission office: Yes, this is your student’s college search.  Yes, this will be partially their decision.  But, let’s be realistic: parents have a huge influence and rightfully so…you have brought them successfully to this important moment in their life. Ask questions about the process or next steps, not about the secret to getting your student admitted or bragging about how amazing they are (We know that already.  We have hundreds upon hundreds that are amazing, and that is what makes our jobs very difficult.).   Rest assured that the counseling staff at Furman is knowledgeable, seasoned, and passionate about our work. They don’t call us admission counselors for nothing.

1. Be a parent:  You have invested a lot of time, money, sleepless nights, and prayers into your children. This next chapter will be just as nerve-wracking as it was to decide what they should wear for Kindergarten picture day and hoping your plans for their graduation party will be to their liking. Just as before, when they have questions, listen and help them to find an answer. If they don’t appear to have any questions or concerns, ask them what they’re thinking. And last but not least, keep the prayers and well wishes coming from now until forever!

Allyson Brown, Assistant Director of Admission