Ask questions and find experts in your community. Schools, religious groups, and civic groups can support you. Find the groups that know about education. Be sure to ask questions of the staff at the college your student is interested in attending.
Learn about financial aid. Check out reputable sources for information. The U.S. Department of Education provides many resources online and in print, in English and Spanish. Start at www.ed.gov/finaid.html.
Match the student with the college. Instead of looking for the “perfect” college, encourage finding a good match. Look at class size, housing, counseling and health services, athletic and arts programs, opportunities for extracurricular activities and degrees/programs offered. Visit during the school year to get a feel for the place and how the students, faculty and staff interact.
Check out the college’s career advising center. Ask about opportunities for students to discover their career interests, take part in internships, associate with professional mentors and learn more about careers.
Don’t worry if your child goes to college without a major. It can actually be a benefit for students. “Undeclared” students can learn more about their personal preferences and abilities, and explore what majors of study are available before deciding.
Be supportive and encouraging. You don’t have to know the answer to every question. Just reassuring your children and telling them that you’re behind them can make the difference between giving up or going on.
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