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A college road map

Helpful tips for parents

For many parents, the college admissions process is both the most exciting and confusing journey they take with their child. We understand how important a decision this is, so we’ve gathered the best advice and top tips from our own admission staff and from high school counselors throughout the country.

This is your one-stop resource as you help your child find their dream school. No matter where you are in the college research journey, we have information to help you and your child through the process.

Research Stage

Researching schools can be overwhelming. Asking your child the right questions about what kind of college experience they want to have can help narrow down the options. Sign up with schools you want to hear from and look for events to attend so you can get a feel for the school in person.

Some things to do during the research stage:

  • Ask your child what kind of college experience they want to have
  • Register for the SAT/ACT exams
  • Begin researching schools and planning visits
  • Start thinking about what makes a school the right fit for your child or family. Consider:
    • Freshman retention rate
    • Job placement statistics
    • Career services offerings
    • Majors and minors
    • Student-to-faculty ratio
    • Available internships
    • Campus location
    • Average class size
    • Study abroad programs
Campus Tours and interviews

Tours

Touring a college campus is one of the most important parts of the college decision-making process. It’s your best chance to talk with current students about their individual experience, but the questions you ask are as important as the answers you get.

After introducing yourself and sharing your potential major, here are five questions you should ask your guide on every college tour:

  1. What was your transition like from high school to college?
  2. Can you tell me about the classroom experience?
  3. What is the social scene on campus?
  4. How will this school prepare me for the future?
  5. What is something that surprised you about your experience at this school?

Interviews

Whether required, encouraged or optional, the college admission interview is a tremendous opportunity for your student to share information and shine in the way they can't on a traditional application. Students can demonstrate their interest and excitement in attending the school further setting them apart. 

How to Ace the Interview:

  • Arrive on time
  • Dress to impress. Wear something neat, professional, and appropriate
  • Do your homework. Review the college website, guidebooks, rankings, whatever you can find. The more you know the better!
  • Bring a list of relevant questions to ask the interviewer
  • Be yourself. Honesty and authenticity are key. Don’t misrepresent who you are!
  • Explain items on your application that could be misunderstood such as an illness/school absences
  • Say thanks! A handwritten note is best, but at the very least send an email saying how much you enjoyed the experience and appreciate their time.
financial aid

Finances are an important part of the college process and it’s good to start thinking about them early. 

Financing options may vary by institution. At Bentley, we offer a variety of resources for financial aid including scholarships, grants, loans, and work opportunities. A financial aid package may also include federal and state aid but approximately 75 percent of financial aid at Bentley comes from grant and scholarship resources.

You can also look for outside scholarships; they won’t impact an institution's financial aid award. Check CollegeBoard and FastWeb to look for opportunities No matter which school your student applies to, all applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA), which will be used to determine your eligibility for federal and state aid.

Application Essay and recommendations

Essays

An essay might seem a little old-fashioned in today’s high-tech world, but it’s still a great opportunity for a college to evaluate your child’s writing ability, to learn something interesting and important about them, and to better assess their fit into the student body. One important piece of advice: Plan ahead! Make sure your child gives themselves ample time for drafts and proofreading (summer before senior year is a great time to start). It helps to create a schedule to track your child’s progress and to set deadlines.

A few things to consider as your student writes the essay:

  • Know the audience: college admission counselors
  • Choose a topic you’re passionate about. You're more than a GPA or test score — your student’s true self should come through
  • Keep the reader engaged
  • Proofread! Use correct spelling and grammar
  • Make it memorable
  • Steer away from cliché or controversial topics or persuasive essays; admission officers want a glimpse into who you really are.

Recommendations

Letters of recommendation are an important part of the application process and can really make a difference. They can't be rushed, and they require some effort from you and your child.

Check it out yourself, or share with potential letter writers to make sure your child gets the best recommendations they can. And remember, the goal is to attest to the capabilities and character of the candidate. The recommender’s contribution is an important part of the admission decision process.

Here are some tips to provide the author of your letter of recommendation to help it stand out.

  • Showcase the student
  • Why are they a good match for the university and/or fields of interest?
  • Talk about their development and potential for growth
  • Illuminate qualities not easily gleaned from a transcript
  • Support your opinions with examples
  • Place the student in the context of the class or school
  • Address attitude and character as well as academic ability
  • Present the individual accurately
  • Explain circumstances impacting performance
  • Highlight course distinctions and honors
  • Be specific, clear and concise.
Key Deadlines

It’s important to plan ahead and be well prepared. You may find it helpful to keep track of application deadlines and SAT/ACT exam dates. All institutions have their own application deadlines so be sure to check school websites.

Bentley application deadlines for undergraduate admission:

  Early Decision Early Decision II Regular Admission
Deadline November 1 January 7 January 7
Notification Late December February 1 Late March
Questions?

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission

Academic Year Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
Summer Hours: Monday to Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

Phone: +1(781)-891-2244; +1(800)-523-2354
Fax: +1(781)-891-3414
Email: ugadmission@bentley.edu