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The role of parents when their children are ready to apply to college

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  • In the past two years, the number of Latinos applying to college has decreased
  • Economic difficulties and lack of support could be two factors that impede access to higher education for Latino students
  • Find out how you can help your children pursue higher education

Since 2020, there has been a decrease in the number of Latino students interested in going to college. According to the Washington Post, thousands of high school students belonging to the Hispanic community in the United States chose not to apply for financial aid to pursue higher education.

This suggests that the impact of the pandemic will continue to affect certain sectors of society, especially Latino students who do not have the financial resources to start or finish college. However, there is welcome news with the existence of programs like McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship, which offers financial help for up to 30 outstanding Latino students each year so they can afford to go to college. This program also has a resource guide for parents and guardians to navigate the college admissions process with their teens. Learn the four most important steps!

1. Help them research the best options

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According to the guide for parents provided by the McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship, one way that parents role on higher education can support their children through this process is by thoroughly researching all of the options available to them. For example, deciding whether your child would benefit most by pursuing a two-year or four-year program, or by earning a certificate or diploma for a particular trade.

Keep in mind factors such as the acceptance rate to the program chosen by your child, as well as employment opportunities and postgraduate programs that could be available to continue their academic training, depending on the field they have chosen.

2. Learn about the university admissions process for students

Editing students homeworks
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Knowing what the university admissions process involves will allow parents to support their children at every stage, both academically and personally. This transition period can be confusing and stressful for students so it is important for the parents role on higher education to learn about the inherent challenges in the application process, as well as the necessary procedures for applying to the schools of your child’s choice.

One way to help children is by contacting other parents who have gone through the same experience, as this will help you understand all of the steps to follow and all of the documentation needed to complete college applications. Some information to consider is: SAT and ACT scores, how to write an excellent essay, what extracurricular activities improve their chances of being accepted, financial aid requirements and the budget for each semester.

3. Take a campus tour

Campus with students
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Another way to support children in the college application process is by taking them to visit different schools. This step is vital in making an informed decision since you can learn important details such as: the distance between campus and housing, the state of the classrooms and the facilities at the university, access to public transportation and the  general dynamics of the school.

If parents visit colleges with their children, they can ask to audit a class and take a guided tour of the dorms and other facilities. Knowing what life is like inside the university allows you to consider aspects such as cleanliness, comfort, accessibility, educational quality, social life, and expenses.

4. Know important dates that students need to know

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As a parent of a college-bound student, one way to help is by creating a calendar with important dates such as: SAT and ACT registration deadlines, opening date for the college application process, FAFSA financial aid deadlines and application submission deadlines.

Being aware of these important dates is a crucial part of the admission process, and one tip that could be useful for parents and students is to create a calendar with the deadlines for presenting the required documentation to obtain financial aid and apply for the university of choice; this calendar will also help to track the progress of the academic essay so it will be delivered on time. With the guide for parents provided by the McDonald’s HACER® National Scholarship, parents of young people who want to attend college will have a clearer idea of ​​what it takes to support their children through this process and increase their chances of getting into the school of their choice. For more information, click here.

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