Choosing the right college for your high school graduate may seem a difficult task. But if you take the time to list the consideration, it won’t be as overwhelming. What seems like so much to consider can really be simplified by focusing on the things important to you and your child. There are a few basic considerations in order to come-up with a shortlist of colleges. Always bear in mind that it is your child who will be going to school, and not yourself. So always be sure that the hat you have on is that of an adviser, and not some irrational parent forcing plans down your child’s throat. Having said that, let’s take a look at the reality a parent faces.
Oh how parents shudder at the sound of these words. Tuition Fees! And they don’t seem to be getting any lower. In fact the rate at which tuition fees escalate is unprecedented. Hopefully you have been setting aside money or invested in some sound education plan for this time. Although it is not common, a parent has to factor in also if the child will be living on campus, or will be boarding at a place near the school. If not, then how much is public transportation to and from school? If your child will be driving, how much will the gas bill be? Also, take a close look at your child’s preferred course. What are the related expenses, such as books, lab fees, equipment, excursions, etc. If all of this sounds overwhelming, you can always look into scholarships or financial aid programs of the school. This is going to be a major economic investment for you, and probably the most important one because your child’s future is at stake, so look at the expenses as one of the best ways you ever spent your money.
If you are from the province and are eyeing a college in Metro Manila, there are many scenarios. If you have relatives in the National Capital Region (NCR), you can probably have your child move in with them for the four-year duration. The other is for you to rent a place in Metro Manila, which is more practical if more than one child is going to school at the same time. A third choice would be for your child to get a room at the various boarding homes that are commonplace near university areas.
As a Metro Manila resident, your consideration would most often be one major thing. Traffic. This is something that spares neither the private or public commuter. Are you near the school of choice? Will your child spend hours stranded in horrible traffic? Commuting to and from school should not eat up too much of your child’s precious time and energy. Wasted time is gone forever, so make school proximity a main consideration. Map out your limitations as far as geographical lines are concerned, then decide. You will soon see how many choices you really have, before you even begin to think of academic considerations.
The School Profile
The range of educational programs and courses offered will vary from one college to another. There will also be certain specialties where a school will excel in certain degrees. Ask around about the universities specialties, and if students can earn a degree, or if there are certificate programs as alternatives choices. This can be valuable information that can also greatly alter your budget considerations. Also, find out the student population because it will be a good indicator of the schools success rate. Does a good percentage of the school find employment after college? These are questions any concerned parent should ask. A good point to consider would also be the influx of new students that transfer to a school, and the percentage that migrate in the middle of their four year course. This would either indicate that there are others that try to get in even in the middle of the four year duration, or that there is a high dissatisfaction rate. Also, have an eye for the facilities of the college. Are they adequate? Are they updated to modern standards? Do their libraries keep up with the newest titles required for research work? A college that offers medicine should be able to provide the labs and the hospital training for a student, while a computer intensive institute should have the cutting edge facilities.
The School Personality
Any school has a personality. That is what makes it unique. The best way to find this out is by actually visiting the campus. Pictures will always sugarcoat the actual learning environment so make sure you find the time with your child to visit. Witnessing firsthand how a routine day at school can say so many things a brochure or website cannot possibly convey. Is the crowd compatible with your child’s personality? Is there an atmosphere of too much liberalism? On the other hand, does the school look like an extension of a sheltered, cloistered high school environment? Does the school have fraternities, sororities, clubs and organizations? Does it participate actively in inter-school events? These are neither good or bad things, but should all come into consideration to make sure you know exactly what kind of exposure your child will be getting, inside and outside the classroom.
The composition and caliber of the faculty will be pivotal in the quality of education that your child will get. The time tested standards of how good or competent a teaching corps is still holds true today: are the teachers graduates from universities known for their education programs? Do they also employ actual practitioners of their respective fields (e.g. Mass Comm. teaching staff with actual media practitioners, English teaching staff with writers, journalists)? Are there more senior members, whom you will want because these are the more seasoned teachers? Senior members of the faculty, or sometimes, even retirees from illustrious careers bring with them a wealth of knowledge and wisdom. The best schools usually have such experts that are part of their roster of teachers and professors. Education is all about the transfer of knowledge, and the deeper the knowledge well, so much the better.
The Best Match
Having all these factors on the table should now give you a clear picture of what school is most compatible with who your child is, and your resources as a parent. The hope is to find the perfect school. But there will always be compromises. As earlier pointed out, economic and geographic considerations will come into play. And the academic standards you seek will even be a bigger factor.
One area you need not compromise that is within your control as a parent is how prepared your child will be for an entrance test. While all high schools do their best to prime their students for the various entrance tests they will have to take, the preparation is usually not enough. This is not to detract from their efforts, but rather is more a result of how fierce the competition is. Even if you have a consistent honor student, it is not uncommon to hear stories of these kids failing entrance tests. So what can be done to secure admission in a good college?
Review and Tutorial
Review and tutorial centers are single minded in focusing on one goal: that the students do well in examinations. The range would be from daily exams, mid-terms, finals and the ominous College Entrance Tests that await all high school students. These centers have refined the drills and review methods to give your child the advantage through simulated exams. The review and tutorial centers can even tailor your preparation to the specific school or schools where you will be applying.
The teaching and tutorial staff is also not to be trifled with. Established centers such as Ahead Tutorial and Review only hire honor graduates or students from the best colleges.
So there you have it. The options to be considered and the preparation that is at hand. Do your research and try to provide yourself as a parent the most possible options. Involve your child with the decision making process and play the role of an adviser. Finally, get the most supplemental preparation you can get through a reputable tutorial and review center.
Parents have such a penchant for always nagging their kids to do their best in school. Well, are you doing your best as parents to prepare them? Let’s stay with that thought as you look for the right college for your kids.