College awareness is the third roadblock in getting your student to college. Parental involvement is a major reason why your child will attend college — or not. In past articles, I have talked about this topic from an educator and adult point of view.
For this article, I wanted to get the viewpoint from a first-generation college student. I visited with Felicia Burkley, a University of Oklahoma journalism and mass communication senior, who had very little parental assistance on her path to college. Listed below are the activities that she wished her parents had participated in while she was preparing for college so they could have gone through this important process together:
The first step is to become “educated” about the college process.
Being aware is the best way to get your child on the path to college. Be fearless and seek out information. Visit websites to get an idea about the process. Better yet, visit colleges of interest with your student. There are people on site whose job is to assist prospective students and their parents. Do not be afraid to ask questions.
Paying for college is always a concern, so contact the desired school and speak with the highest financial official available.
They have the resources to help you wade through the financial aid process. Be prepared to give personal financial information and paperwork to the financial aid officer and be open to providing additional information.
This step will help you take some stress off your pocketbook.
Look into the Oklahoma's Promise program. It is a unique scholarship program for students that will pay their college tuition if their family income is $50,000 or less at the time of application. Students must sign up in the eighth, ninth or 10th grade and meet certain academic requirements. They also must stay in control outside of the classroom by avoiding trouble, like drugs, alcohol and gangs. There are additional requirements to get and keep the scholarship while in college. For more information on Oklahoma's Promise or to apply, visit okpromise.org.
This is the final installment in a three-part series that looks at the major roadblocks on the road to college: grades, college awareness and finances. To read earlier columns, visit the Business page at NewsOK.com.