Educators should feel free to alter this guide to meet the needs of their campus population. I created this to give educators a framework for planning a dynamic parent night or breakfast while keeping it as stress-free as possible. For new senior college advisers or those needing a refresher, I recommend completing these modules on Texas OnCourse Academy:
- Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA)
- CSS Profile
- NCAA and NAIA Eligibility Centers
- Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA)
- Coalition Application
o Week 1 – Obtain approval, secure your venue, and create your parent night invitations (postcards + phone blast). Include when you will begin one-on-ones/parent meetings
- Inform administration and the custodian about your event so that it is on the school calendar.
- Invite guest speakers (if applicable)
- Solidify your volunteer committee (registration, setup, guides, cleanup)
o Weeks 2–3 – Continue to promote parent night (have students remind parents and, if necessary, create an incentive for students to get their parents to attend)
- Create an agenda for your event
o Week 4 – Prepare documents for senior parent night. Here are some documents that I had available. Texas OnCourse Academy also offers printable resources to share with students and families:
- Senior-year costs
- Parent brag sheets (this is where parents get to tell you their perspective on their child. You can use the content for writing letters of recommendation)
- List of required documents: income forms (W2’s, taxes, public assistance, etc.)
- Navigating the many college application systems
- College application follow-up
- 12 common FAFSA mistakes
- Enrollment documents (that you want to collect from your student): acceptance letters and financial aid award letters (if applicable) and proof of enrollment
o Week 5 – Order water/food for parent night and request your venue setup
- Prepare your presentation. Here are some topics to consider:
- Team introduction – yourself and anyone else who works with you in your college office
- Roles in the college process – college counselor, teachers, student, parents, etc.
- Senior year timeline (you can do an activity here – parents against students – to see who gets the timeline correct the fastest)
- Senior year precollege costs
- How advisement is conducted (your one-on-one/small group schedule)
- Components of the college application – use this Texas OnCourse resource on how to navigate the college application systems
- Automatic admission
- Distinguishing between college types (private vs. public)
- Review upcoming events such as college rep visits and scheduled college visits
- Discuss net price calculator or invite a financial aid officer to cover key steps in completing the financial aid process.
- Share these awesome resources found on the Texas OnCourse website that parents can use with their child to encourage dialogue around test prep, careers, and college planning:
o Week 1 – Send out reminders to speakers and volunteers and finalize food delivery (if applicable)
- Hold your parent night
- Ensure that you have a sign-in sheet and volunteers to direct parents to the venue
o Week 2 – Follow up with a thank you to parents who came and reach out to parents who were unable to attend to ensure that they received the information.
Feel free to print out this guide and use it as a checklist!