Plan For College

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Mother's Perspective (Applications, the 2nd Time Around)

This is part IV of Libby's college planning series, "A Mother's Perspective". You can see her first post here, second here, and third post here.

When my younger daughter (and, just for the record, middle child) applied to colleges last year, it was a very different experience from two years earlier. Aside from the fact that my girls are very different from each other, I had a radical change in attitude.




This time around, I took a much more back seat approach. Whereas I strongly encouraged (read forced) my first-born to apply to our big state school and a couple of other safety schools even though she insisted she would never go to any of them, I let my younger daughter have complete control of where she applied. I did not necessarily agree with all of her decisions, but there was enough right in what she was doing that it was fine that I let her direct the process.

The one thing I agreed with most I had learned only having been through the process once already. Apply early.

All of second-born’s applications were completed by mid-October. We’d discussed the strategy, but after that it was all her doing, not my nagging. She was so relieved to be done and be able to concentrate on her classes and enjoy senior year. And by focusing on mid-October rather than November 1 (or January 1 like many of her friends) she had the flexibility to go a little past her personal deadline and still have everything completed with time to spare.

This strategy also reflects a change in college application deadlines. Some schools now have earlier deadlines for those interested in merit scholarships. By getting everything done early and all at once, she made sure she was in ahead of all of those deadlines.

All except one of her schools were early action or rolling admissions, so she only had to wait until April for one last decision.

Best of all, she knew by Thanksgiving that she was going to college. And shortly after Christmas she had seven schools to choose from with just the one last school to hear from in April.

By the time we heard from that school, she had already registered for classes at another one. But that’s what’s up next – Hitting It Out of the Park.

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