College Visits: Be There to Show You Care

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"Dad, I really like (insert expensive college name here)!"
"I bet you do. Did you see the tuition cost?"
"Come on, Dad. After loans and stuff it’s not that bad."
"Uh-huh."    
"So… can we visit?"

Oh, the joys of college visits. Parents drive for hours while their teenager snores in the backseat until they reach the campus. Then they attend an informational meeting led by a peppy college student who is employed by the admissions office, and this person cleverly highlights the college’s bright spots and manages to answer any question thrown his or her way, even if the answer has little to do with what was asked. Parents listen intently, especially when tuition is mentioned, and the potential students yawn and glance at cell phones. After a half hour or so, everyone is whisked away to tour the campus, which, they are assured, is the most picturesque, the most accessible, the safest, the greenest, etc. Tour guides point to buildings and give them apparently meaningful names and present a recently cleaned dorm room to the group’s inspection. The tour wraps up, parents ask questions, and teens drag their parents to the bookstore for a T-shirt. On the car ride home, parents discuss the campus, the tuition, and the scholarship opportunities and turn to their teen sitting quietly in the back to ask, "So what do you think?" The teen shrugs and replies, "It was alright."

Teens’ usual indifference and the long driving hours may dissuade busy dads from taking the time to accompany a son or daughter on a college visit, but being there means more than providing transportation. Despite how teens might react, college is a major deal and a huge step to them. Teens want their parents’ support and presence while finding the perfect fit among the overwhelming number of colleges; they want to hear their dads’ advice and past experiences. Most importantly, they simply desire that assurance that their dads will be there for them throughout the college process and into the intimidating future.

Yes, dads, you might at glance at your watches more than once during a college visit, and you might want to shake some kind of meaningful response out of your teen, but remember that your presence or your absence is directly tied to how much you care in your teen’s eyes. The next time your son or daughter approaches you with a college brochure and a hopeful look, make the commitment to be there- for the college visit and for your child’s future.  
 

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Image of Conquering the College Admissions Essay in 10 Steps: Crafting a Winning Personal Statement
Author: Alan Gelb
Publisher: Ten Speed Press (2008)
Binding: Paperback, 208 pages
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Image of Admission Matters: What Students and Parents Need to Know About Getting into College
Author: Sally P. Springer, Jon Reider, Marion R. Franck
Publisher: Jossey-Bass (2009)
Binding: Paperback, 336 pages
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Image of College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step
Author: Robin Mamlet, Christine VanDeVelde
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (2011)
Binding: Paperback, 432 pages
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College hunting: The Excel File

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College hunting is serious business. State of the art gyms and dining commons have allure, but do the academic challenges rise above? Use one Excel file to keep yourself in line and organize deal breakers and shiny attractions of the Universities at the top of your list. Then, navigate overwhelming University websites with ease and focus. These tips will leave you calm, cool, and collected in the midst of accumulating brochures and looming decisions.

College Costs HOW Much?! Financial Aid Tips to Prevent You from Losing Your Mind

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Today, two-thirds of college students have to take out loans to pay for their education, and the average borrower graduates with close to $27,000 in debt!  Right now, the standard repayment schedule is 10 years – meaning that your kids will likely have kids of their own before their college tuition is paid for!

Wouldn’t it be nice to help them come up with a payment plan that doesn’t need to be paid back (and, no, I’m not talking about winning the lottery, suddenly agreeing to a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, or going on a bank robbing spree).
 
Instead, your kids can get scholarships and grants.  Neither has to be paid back.  But to get them, you (and your kids) will have to do some work now, before they head off to school.
 
To make things easier, try some of these tips!

Why Mother's Day Matters To Dads

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Dad daughterWith Mother’s Day coming up I am sure most of you guys are making well thought out plans to get your wives a nice gift or trying to make the day memorable… or you’re just winging it like always. Here’s something unique you can give your spouse on her special day, and it’s a gift she will treasure and value for a lifetime.

Weekend at Home

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The first day of college marks the automatic fall break countdown. Students live for long weekends that provide a significant pause from the noise of university life. For the past few weeks your son or daughter has lived independently.  Family systems differ from these independent routines. Don’t waste limited time fighting over petty misunderstandings with your son or daughter during a long weekend. Read through the following Do’s and Don’ts of weekends at home to keep the peace and provide the perfect college getaway for a maxed out college student.

You vs. GRE

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A senior in high school perseveres through the SAT/ACT by saying “I’ll never have to do this again.” Wrong. Most aiming for graduate school must overcome the GRE monster. It is a four hour soul sucking exam that literally determines the rest of your life. Unlike undergraduate schools, graduate schools mainly look for three things; high GRE scores, excellent letters of recommendation, and an above average GPA.  Grab a notebook and jot down these tips to help your college student survive tidal waves of vocab, essays, and critical thinking.

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