How Parents Can Help with the College Search Process
- 302 Views
- September 9, 2021
- Undergraduate Students
As a parent, how do you help your child choose the “right” college for them? What should they—and you—look for when applying? To be sure, parents can help with the college search process—and often playing a significant role.
This is especially true when considering several key factors going into the decision. The factors include finances, program offerings, and location.
As a parent, it’s important to bring focus and direction—at the right moments—while helping their children (and future college students) along the way.
After all, surveys show most incoming students do not want to be alone in making the decision of which college to attend. In other words, they want a partner.
We sat down with Lisa Estrella to find out what mattered most to her and her daughter, Alina, during this process. Alina is currently attending Daemen College.
Let’s take a look at why they chose Daemen and what mattered most to them.
Getting to Know You
After looking into multiple colleges and weighing many options, Alina ultimately decided to attend Daemen. This included a move across New York State from their home in Brooklyn to Amherst.
Through this process, Lisa said she appreciated the consistent and personal support Daemen offered.
“The tour made us feel comfortable,” said Lisa. “We were able to visit classrooms. We spoke with professors and current students.”
“Also, representatives from campus offices were on hand to answer our questions,” she added.
There was a sense of intimacy that caused a light bulb to go off for both Estrellas. There was something special about this place.
For one, admissions representatives made the Estrella family feel like they were already part of the Daemen College community.
In essence, “It felt like it was our school,” Lisa said.
After leaving the campus tour, it was easy to call admissions, financial aid and other campus personnel with questions and receive immediate help.
What’s more, Alina, a student-athlete in basketball, was able to meet the coach and her future teammates ahead of time. She also had the opportunity to be hosted by a current student for an evening.
This is critical as many parents help with the college search process and want it to be as easy as possible for their child.
“At the end of the day, she just kept going back to Daemen as the school of her choice,” said Lisa.
Alina is now entering her junior year.
With an extensive and fun orientation to acclimate Alina, the chance for the family to meet her future coach and training staff—as well as the ease and openness of the admissions process—Lisa said the experience stood out compared to other schools.
It was “so much more than just ‘here’s your enrollment packet,'” she said.
When students arrive on campus, faculty, staff and students volunteer to help move them into their dorms. It makes that first day, and good-bye with parents, that much easier.
“We never felt we were alone,” said Lisa, “throughout the process.”
Parents often help with the college search by looking into the institution’s campus safety recourses.
Having a committed campus safety team willing to go the extra mile to protect and interact with students is a significant benefit for parents who have concerns about their child’s wellbeing while at school.
“At Daemen, everyone knows the security guards by name,” said Lisa.
When visiting campus, she witnessed campus safety officers greeting students. “It was literally like they were neighbors,” she said.
Moreover, she saw campus safety officers walking across campus and parked by campus apartments. “There are watchful eyes everywhere to ensure all students’ safety,” she said.
In addition to having a strong campus safety presence, it is important that college health services are easily accessible to students. This includes readily available information, such as who to call and what procedures to follow—information especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asking the college if they offer regular testing and vaccination resources is common for parents—and offerings Daemen works diligently to provide to its campus community. In addition, the college provides a transparent pandemic-related dashboard to inform all of current conditions on campus.
More than 85 percent of Daemen’s campus population is vaccinated—far above the national average—and its testing positivity rate has remained under one-half of one percent.
Lisa said when Alina once contacted her with a health concern, it was easy to look up on-campus health services information on Daemen’s website.
“It was so reassuring to know that if my daughter needed to seek help from someone, there is a great place to go on campus where they can direct her properly and I can contact easily with any questions or concerns,” she said.
Communication is Key
Feeling connected and a genuine part of the college community is of utmost importance for both students and parents.
Regular campus communication—everything from newsletters, email updates and engaging social media—help parents stay informed and more connected with their child, especially when they are living away from home.
Lisa follows Daemen on social media and feels comfort knowing Daemen is considerate of parental informational needs.
“Their support helps parents sift through what they need to know,” said Lisa. It makes it easier on parents, to be honest.”
Overall, “Daemen goes out of their way to make sure I have what I need,” she said.
As a parent, knowing your child is at an institution you feel familiar and comfortable with is critical.
Establish a contact at the college. Never hesitate to ask questions. Also, check out online updates and connect with the college community.
Especially now, colleges should offer supplemental support for students and their families—and recognize their needs—while prioritizing communication and safety.
Check out Daemen College’s Wildcat Family Hub for information on how to prepare for college, as well as help your child succeed and stay connected.