Are you overwhelmed by the college search? Are you wondering how your family will find the best college for your student?
We get it. It’s a lot to take in, but there are many ways you, as a parent, can help your student through this important process to ensure they receive a high-quality college education that’s perfect for them.
Be ready to adapt
Most schools offer in-person tours, but don’t worry if you can’t make it to one—there’s so much information online, as well as virtual tours and online information sessions, making it easier for your student and the rest of your family to explore lots of schools in less time. Schools want to offer support; we know this is a new challenge. At WPI, we’ve got 150+ years of experience behind us to help you and your student make the best decision for them.
Take a look at the changes
No matter where you live, your student’s school was impacted by the changing learning environments of the past few years. That’s why colleges across the nation have made adjustments to their application processes: some are waiving application fees or standardized tests (although with WPI’s test-blind application process and decision to wave undergraduate application fees, students don’t need to worry about either!). Take a deep breath and dive into your student’s college application process—it’s like no other
Make your list—and enjoy the new perspectives
Have your student create a traditional list of reach, possible, and safety schools. With so much information available online, encourage them to consider schools they know nothing about or explore some they might just be curious about, and start looking at them together. If you’re feeling pressure because you couldn’t personally tour each campus, you aren’t alone. But most schools are invested in giving students the best experience possible. Check out all the information your student’s top choices have online—you’ll be surprised to find more than you expected. Once you have everything you need, see if it’s possible for you to visit campus in person. You’ll be well-versed to help your student make the best choice for them.
Deadlines are still important
One thing that remains consistent in the college application process: the deadlines. Make sure you know the deadlines for the FAFSA, the CSS profile, early decision applications, early action applications, regular applications, and recommendations. As a test-blind school, WPI doesn’t consider test scores in the application process at all, so if your student is seriously considering us, standardized tests are one less thing to worry about.
Figure out financial aid
For many families, financial aid plays a big part in the final decision of where to attend college. Schools offer scholarships that can be based on need or merit, and students don’t need to pay those funds back. Loans are available from federal sources and from private institutions, and each one may have varied interest rates and payback timelines. Know what your financial aid package means for your family.
Check out information for accepted students
When your student starts to hear the good news about being accepted, you might have even more questions. If you can go to an Accepted Student Day, do everything you can to make that trip to campus. If you can’t go, attending in a virtual format still offers huge returns. This exciting news means you’re one step closer to a final decision.
Enjoy the next part of the journey
That final decision is momentous in so many ways for your student and your family. Enjoy the time after the final decision to get ready for the next steps. No matter where your student spends those important college years, they aren’t out of your reach. At WPI, we see our students as a family, and we develop everything we do around that principle. They’ll be in good hands—your job isn’t over. You’ll be in partnership with their school to help them get the most out of the next four years. From there, their next steps will start them on the career path they are dreaming about right now. We’re proud our students earn some of the highest salaries right after graduation.
Even if the college search and application process looks a little different than you expected, it doesn’t mean the end result won’t be what you hoped! At WPI, we know how hard your student has worked to get to this point. Our staff is here to support you and your student. We’ll help them succeed through the next four years and beyond.