When it comes to information, our goal at College Parents of America is to provide you with the very best.

Sometimes, that’s as easy as point and click, as we utilize our Parent Resource Center to guide you to links that contain constantly updated and always valuable content for a current or future college parent.

Other times it might mean add water and stir, as we editorialize on issues facing you and/or provide answers to your specific questions, either through this column or through access to the “Ask the Experts” panel that we are so proud to give you to as part of your membership.

And now, it means taking a deep dive on a very specific topic, as we offer you free-of-charge, a 19 page guide called “Crunch Time: Solving the College Acceptance Dilemma,” aimed at parents of high school seniors, or college students who are considering a transfer of schools. The guide, available at Crunch Time: Solving the College Acceptance Dilemma, is aimed at helping you to best support your child in making the difficult decision of which offer to accept among many college acceptance letters.

Why is it “Crunch Time” for graduating seniors?

It’s “Crunch Time” because the nation’s 2,196 public and private four-year colleges will send acceptance and rejection letters to 2 million hopeful students across the USA starting this week. While high school seniors and their parents wait expectantly for “thick or thin” envelopes (or the e-mail equivalent), the letter will contain a few words that will either confirm their hopes for acceptance or reinforce their fears of rejection.

Many students will earn multiple acceptance letters, causing a role reversal with colleges as students now make their final acceptance decision. The quandary for students is no longer “which school will accept me?” but “which school will I accept?” And May 1, known as the “common reply date,” is the day by which this critical decision must be made.

The news of multiple acceptances launches many students and their parents into a month of anxiety over which offer to accept, making what should be the most gratifying part of college selection – achieving a successful admission – instead the most stressful. Often, many of the student’s decision factors have changed since applications were submitted, and parents and their children have little information – and no process – to guide them as they face what could be a life-changing decision.

That’s where the “Crunch Time” guide comes in. While the ultimate decision belongs to the students, we believe that parents can play a very important and useful role in helping their children to logically compare and contrast schools based on their current interests and needs. Academics, a school’s personality, location and several other variables should be weighted by a family for their relative importance. Affordability will also be important to the vast majority of families. Each of these factors should be considered carefully before a final acceptance decision is made.

Statistics reveal that choosing the right college is very important. According to the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education, many students do not remain through graduation at the colleges where they start out, and many do not graduate at all.

While we can’t promise that selecting the right school can be an easy process, we’ve tried with “Crunch Time” to create a logical, personalized coaching methodology that parents can follow to help students make the most informed choice.

And that’s what being a supportive parent is all about. As you move along the “Decade of Decision,” the critical ten-year period between your child’s 7th-grade year and college graduation, we know that your inclination is to be as supportive as possible. The content on our Web site is intended to help you do exactly that.

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