Parent blog: Next steps for accepted students

Bill Baker is the parent of a Penn State student and a contributor to the We Admit blog. He recently shared his experience attending two of our Accepted Student Programs with his son Andy, now a sophomore at University Park.

Okay, so Penn State has accepted your child’s application. Congratulations! Now what?

Bill Baker and his son ??? at the Nittany Lion Shrine.

Bill Baker and his son, Andy, at the Nittany Lion Shrine.

If your child bleeds blue and white and Penn State is his or her top choice, great! You’re in! Simply pay the deposit and relax.

But what if he or she is not so sure? Maybe she’s choosing among several schools. What does Penn State do to help your child decide if the home of the Nittany Lions should become their home away from home?

Here’s where the rolling admissions process itself really helps. If your child applied by the end of November, she will hear of the acceptance by the end of January. That is two full months before most schools release their regular decisions. Those two months provide valuable time; your child should use it!

How can they do that? Well, in my son’s case, those months allowed the idea of studying at Penn State to grow on him while he waited to hear from other colleges. Although we live outside of Pennsylvania, it turns out that we know a number of Penn State alumni and families with students at Penn State. During February and March, many of those people raved to him about the school’s academic prestige, school spirit, and future job prospects. If there are Penn Staters near you, give them a chance to talk to your child.

Although such comments by others help your child feel good about Penn State’s reputation, Penn State offers events for accepted applicants that are even more important.

First, try to attend an accepted students reception in your area, if there is one (note from admissions: check your mailbox for invitations in the next few weeks). We found the event in our area very helpful. Knowledgeable representatives from admissions, financial aid, and the Alumni Association provided us lots of information, not only for University Park, but for all of the Penn State campuses as well.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, if your child has applied to a college that hosts an on-campus event for accepted students (the College of Engineering in our case), try to go. Yes, travel to the campus costs money, but it is a small investment compared to tuition. For us, that was the most valuable experience. The presentations featured current students, were of high quality, and were tailored specifically to accepted students.

Best of all, these events get your child on the campus while students are around. Because we live 200 miles away, we drove up the night before and strolled around the snow-covered campus. That’s when I realized that, in your child’s eyes, there is a big difference between “I could see myself here, so I’ll apply” and “I can actually go here if I want.” Being on the campus as an accepted student, knowing that the decision is now in his hands, not the school’s, can make all the difference.

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