For the last four years, I have been working with high school students in several underserved communities on Chicago’s southside. I’ve seen many students affected by violence, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, and poverty. I understand what these students are going through, as I grew up in a similar environment.
I often see students with an incredible amount of potential derailed by difficult circumstances. Many students tell me that their parents prevent them from better education options, like good financial aid packages at strong schools, because their parents don’t want them to move away. Every single time that I interact with students in these types of situations, the most impactful advice I provide is the most simple: take your parents to your preferred college or university.
Each time one of these students takes his or her parents to visit the college or university, the student returns amazed by how his or her parents become the school’s biggest advocate. The student also returns with a greater sense of conviction in his or her education and an improved focus on finishing high school.
For parents, I understand that there may be challenges to visiting colleges or universities outside of your area, but recognize these benefits:
If you are unable to visit a particular college or university, many schools offer virtual college fairs. While these fairs may not provide the full visitation experience, they should be able to answer your questions and address your concerns.
A few questions you might ask when you visit the school include:
Your time and efforts are beneficial in helping you and your child make the most informed decision. Visiting a university campus will offer a glimpse into your child’s future and may provide a better understanding of the values of that school.