Dear Estelle. You can just feel the excitement and tension around the high school as the juniors start gearing up for college. Until now all was pretty calm and quiet but now the school counselors are organizing meetings with students and parents, inviting college admissions people to the school and putting a big emphasize on g.p.a’s and testing. We would like to be helpful to our son without being too intrusive. Do you have some sage advice to make this period less stressful but organized and success-driven?
Parents, Kent Denver
Such a timely question! This is the best time for juniors to get active for college. Here is a list of important suggestions to make the process organized and successful.
- Create a list of colleges you are possibly interested in attending. Think about some of the important aspects you would like in a school.
Do you want to be near home?
Would you like a big university like CU or a smaller liberal arts college like Colorado College?
Does the size of DU feel more like you?
What kind of weather works for you?
Are Greeks important?
Do you know your major or career-focus yet?
Big city or small town? Urban or rural?
Major collegiate sports or the availability of your favorite sport?
Close to the mountains or the ocean?
- With spring break on the calendar, consider visiting colleges both in Colorado and around the country. Many juniors will be doing just that. Check out college websites to see when information sessions and college tours will be available. If you’re unable to do this in the next few weeks make plans to do it soon. Visiting colleges is the best way to experience “the fit.” Also be sure to download the College Evaluation form. Your visits will be more organized and easier to evaluate.**
- Study for the SAT/ACT. You can take these tests as frequently as you like but more prepping ahead may minimize your test taking. Which test is for you? Some test prep companies offer a diagnostic to see which test works better for you.
- If possible, request recommendation letters from your teachers and counselor before they’re inundated with requests from all your classmates. In preparation for requesting your letters put together a resume highlighting all your activities, sports, clubs, awards, honors, and employment. This will be valuable for teacher and counselor recommendations, when completing your college applications, applying for scholarships, and going for college interviews.
- Talk college finances with your parents. If you don’t receive financial aid will you be able to attend some of the colleges you would love to attend. College is expensive and some colleges are more generous than others and less expensive too.
- Start looking for scholarships. Your parents’ companies may be giving them out and you may qualify. Check out FastWeb and FinAid websites.
- Think about topics for your College Essay and begin to put down thoughts on paper. Check out the Common Application for the essay prompts for 2016-17. The essay is probably the most challenging aspect of the application so begin early. Remember, the essay is really all about you. Make it personal.
- Focus on participating in a few wonderful activities. Identify those which call you from you heart.
In a few short months you will be filling out your college applications. BETTER GET BUSY Now!
**Planning to visit colleges? Download a complimentary College Evaluation form.