Reprinted from an article in West Hartford Life, by Alison Jalbert, February, 2016
Larry DeJohn, Ed.D., owner and consultant at College Planning Consulting on the Hartford/West Hartford line, said students should be prepared to look at the culture and environment of a college during a second visit.
“Go when students are in session; you really get a feel for the campus flavor,” he said.”Other wise, all colleges look the same, and there are 4,000 of them.”
Students should be thinking about potential majors, DeJohn said. He said going online and studying the majors and options at a school can help narrow the list of schools.
“If possible, they should project, over four years, what courses they’d be taking for their major. If they don’t have a particular [major in mind], be prepared for junior and senior year. [This means] choosing classes wisely freshman and sophomore year,.” he said.
DeJohn warns against “senioritis,” which often plagues high school seniors as the end of the school nears.
“It’s important for those who maybe haven’t been as successful as others, and even those who are, to keep their grades up until June,” he said. “College will look at grades, especially if a student has a merit scholarship. A college does have the right to reassess that money.”
“Most colleges have open houses and admitted student events or overnight programs. Take advantage of all of those opportunities to really be engaged with the institution itself. You want to make sure that you pick the one that may be the best fit for you,” he said. “Sometime, students fall in love with what they see on a website and step foot on campus to get a feeling for the culture.”
Although this can be a stressful time for both parents and students, DeJohn said it is important to stop and enjoy the feeling and success of being accepted.
“It’s a happy time. The bottom line is, they want to pick a college where they can really feel comfortable. It’s their new home, [a place where they can] really develop and grow.” He said. “It’s a really special time that they’re not going to have later in life.”