How long does it take to prepare a college application

Joanne - posted on 05/04/2010 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have four boys and wondered how long does it take on average to prepare a college application..... where did you keep all their records to pull this information together? Any tips?

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Dr. Peggy - posted on 05/04/2010

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Several hours for each - without an essay. BUT you don't fill it out. The student does. You can check it, but please don't fill it out. I work in higher education and we see parents still trying to do all the donkey work for their college age students. We call them helicopter parents- still hovering over their child (Once in a while we call them Black Hawk parents.) So let your kid fill it out and you check it for neatness and completeness.
Where to keep the information? I kept a file folder for each kid with report cards, test results of all types, awards and all those certificates they get, lists of activities and jobs. When they were 16 they wanted to get jobs, so I had them prep what I call a kitchen sink resume - "everything in it and the kitchen sink." You could have your kids use one of the Windows templates to do this. My kids were much more motivated to do this to look for a job than to prep for college applications. Include a spot for test results and GPA although that is not needed for a job resume. Make sure they incldue references who are adluts NOT related to them. Then each year or semester have all the new activities added to the basic resume. Save this on your computer and most of the information needed for an college app is there in a form that can be cut and pasted into the applications. AND they have a basic resume for job hunting, too. My kids used thier kitchen resumes as the basis for college applications and job hunts throughout high school, college and grad school. Just keep adding to it.
NOW filling out the financial aid applications is a completely different story and not one I will not go into now. Just be aware you will need to use your tax return for it and may have to send in copies of several past years.
Hope this helped. PBB

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