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College Search Methods: Forward or Backward?
There are many college search methods. How are parents to know the right one?
When it comes time for students to choose a college, there are many methods to follow and steps to take along the way.
All of these methods and steps have the same goal in mind: Choose a college that is the best fit for the student and ultimately leads to graduation and a successful career. College Prep and Parenting Expert, Wendy David-Gaines, describes the college search process using two different methods, Forward and Backward.
Many pick the forward routine because it flows naturally and chronologically. It’s centered on learning about college program options and what the college is looking for….
The backward plan is goal oriented based on student introspection and what he or she is seeking…Starting at the finish line means understanding where students are coming from and focusing on where they want to go…
The beauty of these methods is that they both can work. Parents and their students who do a thorough investigation before choosing a college will be more likely to make an informed decision, which leads to a better fit college, and finally, graduation. Which method did you or your student use to pick a college? Are you going through the college search process right now? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Read Wendy’s article and learn how to nail the college search!
2 OPPOSITE WAYS OF NAILING THE COLLEGE SEARCH
There are two polar opposite approaches to journey through the college search process. With a field of over four thousand schools of higher education, choosing the right path can lead to a smoother and more successful ride. One starts from the beginning and the other goes in reverse. Student motivation, qualifications, and expectations can show whether the best method to use is forwards or backwards.
Many pick the forward routine because it flows naturally and chronologically. It’s centered on learning about college program options and what the college is looking for. Each step provides topics for parent-student team conversations. School counselors may set up individual meetings with parents and students and arrange introductory college nights about the admission and financial aid processes. Sometimes, some colleges are invited to send personnel to attend. Private counseling groups may sponsor college fairs filled with college admission staff and information sessions.
Students can gather more facts about what colleges’ offer by going to college websites and connecting with current students, alumni, professors, and admission staff through social media. Parents can read books about college statistics and preparing themselves and their students for college. As families learn about what different colleges proffer, slowly a college list takes shape. It is based on college requirements as compared to student interests, qualifications, and expectations.
The list can be whittled down further by college visits and interviews.
The backward plan is goal-oriented based on student introspection and what he or she is seeking. Those who solve maze puzzles by beginning at the end will be able to relate to how well this works. Starting at the finish line means understanding where students are coming from and focusing on where they want to go. It’s a great convo for the parent-student team. Students can project four to six years ahead to envision their most desired career and lifestyle and what they want out of a college experience.
Location, school size, endowment funds, and college connections often influence on and off-campus speakers, activities, internships, and jobs. Families can direct their research for places that best align and read up on preparation for college for each family member. They can visit local colleges or a region with different types of schools as part of a collegecation (college visit + family vacay) to show possibilities to be revisited if expectations are met.
Being so well prepared about what students are looking for increases the depth of questions to ask school counselors, college staff, alumni, and current students when opportunities arise via meetings, fairs, and first and second college visits.
Both strategies have students take stock of their qualifications and interests and compare them to college requirements. Thinking forwards puts the initial emphasis on college particulars and reckoning backward prioritizes student objectives.
Remember to search for scholarships as you search for colleges!
It’s never too early to search for college scholarships. Learn how to start the college scholarship process by clicking here.
Monica Matthews is the author of How to Win College Scholarships. She helped her own son win over $100,000 in college scholarships and now shares her expertise with other parents and their students. She truly has “been there, done that” in regards to helping parents and students navigate the scholarship process.
Her method of helping students in finding college scholarships, writing unique and compelling scholarship essays, creating amazing scholarship application packets and more, have taught desperate parents to help their own students win thousands of scholarship dollars.
Monica’s scholarship tips have been featured on many prominent websites and she has been dubbed the “Go-To” expert on college scholarships.