Interview with a Parent

Learning from other parents' experiences

Name: Lore Lacny

City and State: DuBois, PA

As a parent, what were your top priorities when you were helping your children decide on a school?

For my children, I wanted the school to offer an academic challenge…not one that would be overwhelming for them, but definitely one that would provide a challenge where they would have to work for their grades and be surrounded by others who might be smarter. 

Did you work with a guidance counselor or college counselor during the college search process?


Did your children take the SAT, ACT, or both? Did they participate in any preparation or study courses for the exam(s)?

They took the SAT and no prep courses.

When you began helping them select a school, were you looking for schools with a specific major or any particular qualities (religious affiliation, athletics, location, etc.)?

No particular major, but definitely location and intellectual make-up of the student body.

Did you attend any college fairs and/or college-sponsored activities with your children?

Yes—one at the convention center in Pittsburgh, PA.

How important was size of the university and student/teacher ratio?

Size was important…did not want it too small so they would not feel as though they were still in high school but did not want it too large so that they would not get lost.

Did you investigate crime statistics and other safety issues on the campuses?


On average, how many colleges did you visit each time you went through the college search process? 

The first time: 2

Second time: 0

Third time: 2

For you, what were the most important aspects of your campus visit?

The campus tour and presentations by professors and admissions

What role did you play during the application process? Did you help your children work through any required essays?

We worked through the essay writing by talking through ideas and proofing the essay.

Did you suggest that your children apply to a specific number of colleges/universities?

We suggested they apply to one they knew they could get into so they would have a safe school and then two more.

Did you look into financial aid and scholarship opportunities? If so, what advice do you have for parents seeking financial aid assistance?

I would suggest the student have no money in his/her name…look as poor as you can on paper. Submit the FAFSA on time, of course, and remember to make corrections. Get it done because anyone can get something somewhere. Also, all college-bound students in PA should take the PSEA’s in case they qualify for merit scholarships.

How did you and your children finally narrow the college/university choices and select one?

Each one knew where they wanted to go, so that is what we went with. The decision has to be the student’s since he/she has to live with the choice for at least four years.

Do you have any advice for parents who are helping students prepare for and adjust to their first year at college?

Be prepared for roommate conflicts over values/beliefs. Call your child often even if you think you should not…they want to hear from you.

Realize that around the six-week mark of the first semester, they will have a bit of a break down—call them and assure and encourage and reassure and encourage and love. Help them to stay there and work out any problems.
At the same time, if the problems are serious, parents should visit the student. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of the dorm advisors.


This article was written by Hannah Purnell

Hannah Purnell is a staff writer for Hannah writes extensively on the topic of undergraduate studies and the college search process.

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