Dr. Kent Ingle: Applying to college – 7 tips to help parents, students make the right choice

Now you can listen to Fox News articles! College classes just started back up this fall, and now it’s time for future students to begin applying for the 2022-23 year. Applications for next year already went live, with many early decision deadlines approaching the end of October. If you have a senior in high school, you most likely have been looking into colleges for your student to attend. You may have even started the application process. For parents with students who just started high school, it’s not too early to consider college.

Here are seven tips for helping your student apply to colleges.


Determine a budget – Finances can be a significant factor in determining where your student can attend college. You must discuss who be going to pay for it before they start applying. A Sallie Mae and Ipsos survey found that 54% of parents pay for college. If you plan to pay for your child’s education, be sure they know how much you will contribute and if you expect them to contribute to additional expenses.


Set o budget for what four years of college will cost and decide which schools fit that budget. The budget should include tuition, living expenses (like housing and food), and textbooks. Be sure to allow for extra costs, knowing that college tuition could increase and there might be expenses you didn’t anticipate.

Research colleges together – Start researching colleges now. Some criteria you need to keep in mind are the distance from home, degree programs of interest, cost of tuition, scholarships available, and campus life. Does your student want to attend a public or private university? Do they want to participate in a school that aligns with their beliefs? It doesn’t hurt to create a list of colleges that include the abovementioned criteria. While researching, consider looking for colleges known for your child’s degree program with high job placement rates after graduation.

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Visit campuses before you apply – Although the college might look great online, you must ensure your the child visits the school in person. By visiting the campus, you will get a better feel for the college’s area and campus life. Don’t be afraid to stop current students and ask them what they like about attending school there. At Southeastern University (where I serve as president), we have one-day events where students can participate in on-campus activities (such as athletic events), eat in the campus restaurant and attend classes. Events like these will give your student a good idea of whe college’s culture.

Decide what’s important – Does your student want to be involved in certain clubs? Do they plan to play sports? Do they want to experience a new state or stay close to home? There are several aspects of campus life that you want to consider before you apply. Ask them to list their top priorities and have them be realistic. Not everything they want will be there, but they should ensure their top priorities are met. In addition to visiting the college campus, check out each university’s social media and website to get a good feel for the college experience.

The best step you can take as a parent is to let your child decide where they go to college. It’s important that they have ownership of the process as this will be a huge milestone in their lives.

Create a schedule to meet deadlines – As you find colleges your student is interested in applying to, write down important deadlines. Although you want your child to take responsibility for meeting deadlines, check in with them to see how it’s going. Please encourage them to add deadlines to their phone or use a paper calendar. You can assist them in creating a plan to complete the application steps before the deadline so they aren’t stressed or rushed.

Let them decide– The best step you can take as a parent is to let your child decide where they go to college. Although you have ownershipe discussions wt h your student beforehand (talk about the pros and cons of each school), let them make the final decision. IThey must haveownership of the process ,as this will be a huge milestone in their lives. The last thing you want is to be known as a helicopter parent.

Help them manage their expectations – Waiting for an acceptance or rejection letter can be nerve-wracking. It can start to feel like the day will never come, especially if their friends receive letters before they do. Ensure they understand it’s OK if they don’t get into their first-choice school. This is one reason your student must have options of different schools they may like to attend. And once they receive their acceptance letter, remember to celebrate with them! You want them to dream, but you must also be realistic.

A year may feel far away, but it will be here before you know it. Youu must relish every moment of the application process and celebrate milestones. Although your student may be eager to attend college, encourage them to be fully present to enjoy every moment of their final year in high school.

Tyson Houlding
I’m a lifestyle blogger with a passion for writing, photography, and exploring new places. I started this blog when I was 18 years old to share what I was learning about the world with family and friends. I’ve since grown into a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer with a growing audience. I hope you find inspiration and motivation while reading through my work!