What Parents Need To Know

Weathering the College Admissions Process: What High School Parents Need to Know

The parents of college-bound students are often confused by the highly competitive college admission process. These twenty basic questions are answered in a talk by Dr. Pepper to help parents clarify their child' needs and goals and define their role in the college process.

Question 1.  What is the first question I should ask?

Question 2.  What's best for my child - a liberal arts college, or a large 

Question 3.  Are there other college models I should consider?

Question 4.  How do I compare the academic strengths of one college to 


Question 5.  How do I measure the quality of life at a college or university?

Question 6.  How do I evaluate the quality of the undergraduate experience?

Question 7.  How do I judge my child's chance of acceptance at a particular 

Question 8.  Do character and community service count?  Or is it all about 


Question 9.   My child is a brilliant pianist. Can that make a difference?

Question 10.  What about students who have other talents - dance, writing, art, 


Question 11.   What if my child has a strength that does not appear on the 


Question 12.  How important are standardized tests?  What tests do the colleges 

Question 13.  What is the best time for my child to take the standardized tests?

Question 14.  What should my role in the college selection process be?

Question 15.   Are there some things I should not do?

Question 16.   How can I learn more about financial aid in meeting college 


Question 17.   With college costs spiraling, what strategies can help reduce my  


Question 18.   What changes are colleges making to reduce tuition costs?



Guiding Parents through the College Process

The Thinking Parent’s Guide to College Admissions, The Step-by-Step Program to Get kids into the Schools of Their Dreams
by Eva Ostrum (The Penguin Group, Inc., New York, 2006) gives parents a clear idea of what they need to do from ninth grade on to prepare for the college admissions process.

The Smart Parents Guide to College; The Ten Most Important Factors When Choosing a College
by Ernest L. Boyer and Paul Boyer (Petersons, Princeton, New Jersey, 1996) focuses more on how parents should evaluate the educational quality of a college.

The Launching Years, Strategies for Parenting from Senior Year to College Life
by Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt (Three River Press, New York, 2002) deals with the emotional upheavals of the college process and coping strategies. 

Understanding the College Admissions Process

How to Get Into the Top Colleges by Richard Montauk and Krista Klein (Prentice Hall) deals in depth with each stage of the college process.

Understanding the Differences among Colleges

The Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward B. Fiske (Sourcebooks, Inc) profiles programs, campus life and college traditions of over 175 “selective colleges.

Barron’s Guide to the Most Competitive Colleges (Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.) is also an excellent resource, profiling approximately seventy of the most highly selective colleges in the United States.

Choosing the Right College (Intercollegiate Studies Institute) reviews the best colleges in terms of the academic program and the quality of college life.

Understanding College Majors

Rugg’s Recommendations on the Colleges by Frederick E. Rugg gives lists of colleges (over 1100) that excel in a particular major. Under each major, the colleges that have the strongest departments are grouped in three categories: Most Selective; Very Selective and Selective.

Book of Majors (College Board) discusses the major itself, recommended courses to take in high school, typical courses within this major, and careers.

Visiting the Colleges

Visiting the College Campus (Princeton Review) gives the times of the information sessions and campus tours;driving directions from other colleges in the state; and good information on admissions contacts and nearby housing.

The College Atlas and Planner (Wintergreen Orchard House) is an atlas showing the driving routes between regional colleges.

Paying for College

The A’s and B’s of Academic Scholarships by Anna Leider (Octameron Associates. Alexandria, Virginia, 2002) is an excellent resource for finding the kinds of merit scholarships colleges in each state award.

Pay for College Without Sacrificing Your Retirement, A Guide to Your Financial Future by Tom Higgins (Bay Tree Publishing, Point Richmond, California, 2008) give strategies for long and short term financial planning.

Paying for College, Lowering the Cost of Higher Education by Trent Anderson and Seppy Basili (Kaplan Publishing, New York, 2007) gives a step-by-step analysis of how to apply for financial aid with excellent websites. 


Dr. Gay Stebbins Pepper, Founder and Director

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