Living Columns & Blogs

Think about college in the new year

It’s that busy time of year again. No, not Christmas or New Year’s, but college application time. This can be a very stressful experience not only for the student, but also for the parents. However, with proper planning and engagement with your child, you can minimize the stress and make it a manageable — and perhaps even enjoyable — experience. Having just completed this process with my second child, I thought it would be a good idea to document some ideas for when my fifth-grader eventually reaches high school.


▪ Get your kids thinking about college sooner rather than later. You can start when your oldest child begins high school. When you visit relatives and friends in other towns, tour a local college with all of your children, including younger ones in middle and even elementary school, and engage them in a discussion about how that college compares to Penn State.

▪ Talk to your kids about careers. Encourage them to talk to family members and your adult friends about their jobs and education experience. Your kids, and you, might be surprised at the unique paths people took to arrive where they are today.

▪ Introduce your child to some online tools to learn about the admissions application and financial aid process, as well as to discover the academic programs, extracurricular activities, costs, financial aid and school location. This may help narrow the search. A couple of great resources are and

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at or Marc McCann at