Is your child ready for college?

If your high school senior is spending more time on Facebook than reading her English assignment or is watching reruns of “Dance Moms” into the wee hours, you may wonder whether she’s really ready to head off to college next year.

Is she mature enough to handle it? We asked Dean Skarlis, president of the College Advisor of New York.


Q: In today’s economic climate, with skyrocketing college costs, should you still send your kid if he or she doesn’t seem ready?

A: The interesting thing is, back when I went through the process 27 years ago now, only 60 percent of kids went directly from high school to college. Today it’s 70 percent. It’s more of an expectation today that students go to college.

On the other hand, the cost has gotten so out of control. With many schools approaching 60 grand, parents are thinking, “Wait a minute.” I would advise people to start thinking about that in 10th and 11th grade to make a more informed decision about college, community college or military service.

Q: What are some signs to look for in your child?

A: No. 1 is if they don’t have good grades, especially if they’re not taking a demanding curriculum and the grades are Cs and Bs. That’s red flag No. 1. If they’re not engaging in one or two extracurricular activities, other than games on the XBox. When you send him miles away, is he going to be engaged in his studies?

Maybe the student is very talented but doesn’t put any time into studies. Some of those students are not ready for a four-year-school. A two-year-school is less expensive, if they’re not going to excel.


Q: How do you keep them on track for college if they don’t go right away?

A: That’s just knowing your child and impressing upon them the value of getting a four-year degree. Some kids are just not four-year-college students. That’s the issue, figuring that out. They can talk to a guidance counselor or maybe a teacher or two. Some kids shouldn’t go to a four-year school, but some should but may need a detour.


Add fiber to the family diet

Pears: One pear has 5 grams of fiber.

Raspberries: All those little seeds result in high fiber content. One cup has 8 grams of fiber.

Oatmeal: Oats are a great way to get soluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol. One cup of cooked oatmeal has 4 grams of fiber.

Green peas: Frozen peas are a quick and easy way to add vegetables to a meal, and they’re high in fiber, with 9 grams per cup.

Whole-wheat spaghetti: Replacing regular white pasta with whole wheat will give you more than twice as much fiber — 6 grams in a cup.

Almonds: One ounce of almonds (24 nuts) gives you 4 grams of fiber. Pair them with an apple or pear for a morning snack and you’ll be almost halfway to your daily dose of fiber.

Beans: Beans are one of the best sources of fiber out there: One cup has 12 to 19 grams of fiber.

Winter squash: A cup has 6 grams of fiber.

Popcorn: Popcorn counts as a whole grain. Three cups offers 4 grams of fiber for just 90 calories when air-popped.