Navigating the “Second Look: A Parent’s Guide to “Accepted Student Day”

For your student’s parents, watching their high school senior transition from adolescence to adulthood is both exciting and nerve-wracking. After months of college applications, essays, and waiting, their child is about to be accepted to multiple colleges, and soon it will be time for the “second look” visits. These visits are crucial in helping their child make their final decision about where to attend college.

As a parent, their role in this process is essential, and here’s how they can navigate it effectively:

  1. Encourage Exploration: The second look visits offer an opportunity for your child to explore the campus, meet with professors, and interact with current students. Encourage them to ask questions and immerse themselves in the college environment. While it’s natural to feel nervous about the unknown, remind them that this process is about finding the right fit.
  2. Open Communication: Keep the lines of communication open with your child. Ask them about their impressions of each college they visit, what aspects they liked or didn’t like, and any concerns they may have. Listen attentively and offer support without imposing your own preferences.
  3. Discuss Priorities: Help your child identify their priorities in a college or university. This could include factors such as academic programs, campus culture, location, extracurricular activities, distance from home, financial aid, and career opportunities. Encourage them to prioritize what matters most to them and consider how each college aligns with those priorities.
  4. Financial Considerations: Have open and honest discussions about the financial aspects of attending each college. Review financial aid packages, scholarships, and any potential student loans. Consider the long-term implications of each financial decision and how it aligns with your family’s financial goals.
  5. Trust Their Instincts: Ultimately, the decision about where to attend college should be driven by your child’s instincts and aspirations. While you can offer guidance and support, it’s essential to respect their autonomy in making this decision. Trust that they will choose the college that feels right for them.
  6. Stay Positive and Supportive: The college decision process can be overwhelming for both parents and students. Stay positive and supportive throughout this journey, reassuring your child that no matter which college they choose, you will be there to support them every step of the way.
  7. Seek Guidance if Needed: If your child is struggling to make a decision or if you have concerns about their choices, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from college counselors, teachers, or other trusted advisors. Sometimes an outside perspective can offer clarity and perspective.

The “second look” visits mark the final stretch of the college decision process, culminating in one of the most significant decisions their child will make in their young adult life. By offering guidance, support, and encouragement, they can help their high school senior navigate this transition with confidence and clarity. Remember that no matter which college they choose, their success ultimately depends on their dedication, passion, and hard work. So, celebrate this milestone together and look forward to the exciting journey that lies ahead.

Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte. Send questions to:;