Note: This post was written by a College Quo parent. Her son is a member of the Class of 2025. He is an international student (non US citizen) seeking significant financial aid to attend university in the USA. The parent has asked to remain anonymous.
‘Journey into the unknown’ - that is how I feel as I try to support my son in preparing for and applying to colleges as an international student. He didn’t actively start to consider this option until the beginning of fifth form and this resulted in a rush to gather information about the requirements including the SAT, extracurriculars, subject choices, and GPA. With limited financial resources he will need close to a full scholarship to achieve his goal. We agreed that we would do all we can to pursue this dream; it is better to try and fail than not to try at all.
We knew very little of the process and weren't sure where exactly to start. Here began the numerous web searches and watching of YouTube videos. Fortunately, his subject choices in high school were within the range of what we found to be recommended (Mathematics, English Language, Science and Social Sciences) and he was performing satisfactorily. But how does he structure his varying and not very consistent extracurricular activities into a winning profile? That definitely needed work.
As a parent the first consideration was cost; how we would afford SAT classes and college counseling. After much deliberations, we invested in SAT classes and he took the SATs and earned a good score. Next came considerations for the actual college planning process. I know a college counsellor is not a requirement, however I knew we needed help if this endeavor was going to work.
One blessed day, during one of my internet searches I came across an article of a Jamaican student studying at Bowdoin College who offered college counseling as a service, College Quo, at a significantly competitive rate and in a comprehensive way that met exactly what we needed. I was intrigued and contacted her immediately. The rest is history. We continue to be amazed at the excellent quality of service that is offered. Amanda has managed to take what is an intense and daunting process and is skillfully taking him through the college application process. I have seen my son’s confidence in his writing skills improve tremendously over the last few months as he worked through his essays. He is comfortable and relaxed relating with her, even when he had to re-write or change his essay ideas.
And yes, the results are already being seen with college admission decisions already coming in with significant scholarship awards.
What have I learnt through this process? If your child wants to study abroad it is critical to start planning early. It wasn’t wise for us to wait until fifth form. Encourage your child to craft that winning profile not only academically but through extracurricular involvement and demonstrated leadership within their communities early in high school. Early planning also allows for better affordability as the preparation costs can be spread over a longer period and reduces stress during the application process.
Secondly, research, research, research. Find out as much as you can about the process especially as it applies to international students, there is a vast amount of related information on the internet. Also, participate with your child in the virtual sessions and tours offered by most colleges. Do not leave your child to struggle through this process by themselves. Some can but some cannot figure it out alone.
Lastly, if you need help, I highly recommend College Quo for all your college counseling services. Do not hesitate to engage Amanda and her team, you will not be disappointed.
I don’t know where the journey will end for us but I know it will be worth it.