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04/25/06
College-search Chapter Closes …
Filed under: Musings
Posted by: site admin @ 11:26 am

So many clients have asked about my kids’ college-search results and final plans that I felt compelled to post a quick update. As many folks probably know, May 1 is the classic deadline by which college-bound high school seniors must advise the college they’ve selected with a written commitment — and the first of many checks to bind that decision. As of April 24th, my twin sons finally made what I am absolutely convinced were extremely well-thought-out, careful, and conscientious decisions.

Just a bit of background … we started early in the game (yes, it really is a game — and there are many, many rules to learn!). They began preliminary searches and drive-by visits the summer following their sophomore year. These two being our oldest, we wanted to ensure there’d be plenty of time. By junior year, they really got serious. In addition to SAT and ACT testing as well as polishing their resumes (naturally:), they began digging around on the Internet and coming up with possible schools to match academic areas of interest. A number of interviews and open houses were visited during February and April vacations … and in the summer following their junior year, they diligently developed several essays that they’d continue to refine to accompany applications. More visits ensued during the summer before the start of senior year and these extended not only into the fall, but as recent as last week (April vacation!) when we revisited a few of the finalists.

All applications were completed, letters of recommendations sought, and paperwork in by the last week in November (they each applied to six or seven schools). Then, following a nice Division I recruiting effort in February, there were a few additional ‘last-minute’ applications this spring. More visits … in some cases, top contenders were visited three and four times. The boys each had a spreadsheet going, ranking things important to them: strength of academic program, "feel"/fit of the campus in general, relationship/rapport with coaches (both do indoor/outdoor track; one also does cross-country; the football player is taking a bye freshman year), and, finally, sticker price. This last criterion is not to be confused with ‘actual’ price. We learned that there are many wonderful scholarship and grant opportunities available that can significantly reduce that initial ‘kick in the gut’ reaction to the posted price (especially when considered ‘times two’!).

In the end (between the time of the first acceptance — at the end of December — and the final acceptance — at the beginning of April), my husband and I were delighted to see how methodical these guys were in selecting what would be best for them. Although they had just a few schools to which they’d applied in common (one is pursuing engineering, the other — business management), it was a delightful surprise when they both settled on the same school. We’ll soon be sporting bumper stickers on our vehicles that say, "Our Twins and Our Money Are Going to the University of Hartford."

– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage¬†… Don’t forget to check out careerhub.typepad.com for the best in career search advice from the career industry’s top experts

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