Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting Ready for College

My youngest child Kara is entering fourth year high school in two days.  She is excited to start her last year at the School of the Holy Spirit of Quezon City for the simple reason that her classroom is air-conditioned.  Only the classrooms in the Seniors' wing are air-conditioned because the wing is situated in the warmest part of the school.

Senior year, being the last year before the big leap to college life, is a time for preparations.  First thing on the list is the one-month review for the different college entrance examinations that Kara will be taking.  During my time review classes were non-existent.  You just go to the admin office of the school to get the test permit and appear on exam date on time.  Maybe getting into your school of choice today is getting tougher and more competitive hence the need for review classes.

I am already a veteran in preparing my child as Kara is my third child getting into college.  Like her two older siblings, Marco and Nina, Kara had her review at the Loyola Student Center (LSC), one of the pioneers and is reliable.  Review classes do not come cheap.  This time I forked P10,000.00 plus another P1,500.00 for her review books.  With Marco and Nina, I paid almost 50% less than what I paid for Kara's.  Marco, being a product of the Ateneo High School, paid P6,000.00+ inclusive of books.  I don't know what's the arrangement between Ateneo and LSC why Ateneans have to pay less than what other mortals pay.  For Nina's turn, I had to pay the regular price as Nina did not come from Ateneo (an all-boys' high school).  Good thing LSC was giving out big discounts if you enroll as a group of at least six reviewers.  I gathered five of Nina's classmates and we all were able to avail of a big discount that included books in the package.  Let me share you a tip.  As early as December of your child's junior year, start inquiring from LSC as promos are being given out on a first come, first serve basis.  I wasn't able to avail of the promo discount as it was already closed when I enrolled Kara.

After setting aside a month of her two month summer vacation for the review classes, Kara readied the requirements for her application for University of the Philippines' UPCAT.  She submitted her application form and requirements for the UPCAT at her school's guidance office.  That spared her the long queue at UP.

For her applications to other schools, she googled the websites of these schools of the schedules of giving out of application forms, requirements to be submitted and the actual schedules of the entrance examinations.  These websites are also a rich source for what courses or programs are being offered by the schools.  Some schools post the course syllabi that give a good picture of the description of the course.  Different schools have different names for their course offerings.  For instance, a marketing degree in UP or De La Salle University has its equivalent in Ateneo de Manila Universtiy - BS in Communications Technology.

The review, the submission of the application forms and requirements, the entrance examinations come after the child has chosen her course.  I advised my daughter that she must choose a course that she's passionate about or something that she's interested in.  A simple exercise would be to ask this question:  "How do you see yourself doing five years from now?"  Choosing a school is secondary.  The choice of the school will have to depend on the answer to the question.  There are schools that are known for certain degree programs and it would be better for the child to go to the school where his course is best offered.

I hope I was able to give some pointers to parents who are doing this for the first time.  Don't be ashamed to ask questions to the admin people of your child's preferred schools.  You're paying good money just by applying for their entrance exams.  Good luck to all of us.

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