For high school juniors, college seems like a lifetime away. But those of us who are adults know just how fast time goes; before we know it our children will be filling out college applications. Here are a few tips to help you with the process:
1) Begin early working on a college list with your consultant and the student’s high school counselor. Students change their minds—a lot—so it’s a good idea to begin the conversation ASAP in junior year and continue discussing it until the student feels comfortable knowing where he/she will apply.
2) Make a testing plan so the student knows when they will be taking the ACT’s and/or SAT’s.
3) Remind your child to think about which teachers may write their college recommendation. It would be a good idea for your student to ask the teacher at the end of junior year, rather than wait until mid-way through senior year as applications are being filed. Teachers are busy people, and respect for their schedule shows both courtesy and initiative.
4) If there are schools of consistently high interest, junior year is not too soon to arrange a campus visit. This will serve to either eliminate schools sooner, rather than later—or to help show longstanding demonstrable interest when revisiting in senior year.
5) Once the summer before senior year comes, students should begin writing their essays in earnest. Getting them done early can save a lot of grief later on. Help your student get their ideas down on paper, then have them be prepared to revise their essays many times, as they find their message and their voice. And make sure you have a fresh pair of eyes proofread them. (More on the college essay later).