Each student is unique and they will have their own unique approach and timeline to the college search process. For that reason our approach is highly individualized. We work with students any time throughout their high school years.
Timeline and Tips
Parents play an important role in the college admissions process. There are many ways you can support your kids… whether they ask for your help or not. 🙂
Freshman and Sophomore Years
Occasionally check in on assignments and grades. GPA is the #1 factor in college admissions decisions; and grades from freshman, sophomore, and junior years will be the ones that colleges consider. It’s important students do well from the start.
Make sure your child is being challenged. Suggest your child enroll in honors or AP courses in the subjects they are strong in. Colleges evaluate strength of curriculum.
Discuss the importance of trying new things. This is the time for your child to explore and discover their interests. Recommend they join clubs at school, get a part time job, or volunteer somewhere. Colleges want to see commitment.
Budget for college. The cost of college has been escalating and there is no end in sight. Now is this the time to consider how you are going to pay for college.
Visit colleges. If you are traveling during spring break or summer, include a visit to a college or two. Attempt to see a small, medium and large school.
Help them stay the course. This year is your child’s last chance to make a good impression. Encourage them to continue to do their best in school and be involved in extra-curricular activities.
Develop a testing plan. ACT or SAT scores will count considerably in admission decisions. Help your child determine which tests to take, and come up with a plan for test prep.
Explore career interests. While your child may not know what they want to major in, it’s important to explore areas of interest and possible career preferences. Introduce your child to your contacts and encourage them to schedule informational interviews.
Explore options for paying for college. Calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and familiarize yourself with the various forms of financial aid available.
Plan a trip. Now is the time to visit schools your child is interested in. You can learn a lot about a college from the Internet but there is nothing like stepping foot on a campus.
Help finalize a college list. Talk with your child about their top criteria for selecting a college. What degree program are they interested in? What learning environment suits them? Think beyond size and location and consider factors such as retention and graduation rates.
Determine the actual cost for each school. Every college has a Net Price Calculator that will help you find out the true out-of-pocket cost — or net price — of that college. Do this now. Don’t have your child apply and then learn you can’t afford it.
Fill out the FAFSA to apply for financial aid, even if you think you will not qualify. You can automatically transfer your tax information online from the IRS to the FAFSA. The FAFSA is available October 1.
Let your child do the work. It can be tough to figure out how involved to be in the application process. Offer to be a sounding board or a proofreader but do not highjack your child’s college essays or applications. Doing so sends a message that you don’t think your child is capable.
Support your child through admissions decisions. Waiting for admissions decisions is stressful and being turned down by a college is painful… but it isn’t the end of the world. Trust that your student will find a school that is just right for them.