HomeArticlesPlanning for College Early: The Upside

Dear Estelle. We have a serious, mostly all A’s, 10th grader who runs varsity track and attends Interlochen Music Camp every summer. Her older brother, a college sophomore, counsels her about college and has been a good resource of information in terms of high school preparation.  Is there anything she’s not doing to prepare for college

R. Sachs, Centennial

Your family may be doing everything right but perhaps aren’t doing enough. Many people fail to realize the benefits of early college planning and that means 10th grade or even ninth. Starting early can minimize the stress that students feel as they begin their senior year in high school. Students typically get serious about college planning when they meet with their high school counselors January or February of their junior year after seniors have finalized their college applications. By this time, they may have missed the opportunity to take special courses that will enhance their GPA’s or have missed a prep course that would have prepared them for the PSAT and the chance to earn National Merit scholarship recognition. Starting a year earlier in the fall or winter of their sophomore year will also give them opportunities to decide where to put their energy in terms of extracurriculars.

What are the advantages of early SAT and ACT preparation? They provide study skills necessary to succeed in other courses. Learning grammar, writing essays, improving vocabulary are all assets that will benefit a student’s coursework while preparing for the tests. Starting early a student can test more frequently and isn’t limited by a lack of time to repeat the tests, if necessary.

By achieving a quality test score earlier, a student can make more intelligent choices regarding which colleges to visit in their junior, not senior year, when time is limited. Completing important tasks early provides an impetus to apply Early Decision, knowing they have had time to carefully evaluate colleges. According to

2016 statistics, applying early continues to be an advantage in college admissions.

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