10 things you need to know before your child applies to college

Earlier this week, we offered some advice on how you can survive the college admission process and included a Parent’s Survival Guide from the Student Advisor Blog.

We mentioned that the guide is chock full of information you’ll need as your son/daughter starts and then works his/her way through the college application process, including the 10 things you need to know before your son/daughter applies to college.

  1. Students must make an impact.
    Colleges want students who participate well in a handful of activities, not someone who is a “member” of a million organizations but isn’t really a member. Know what we mean?
  2. Relationships with guidance counselors and teachers count. 
    Encourge your son or daughter to build relationships with these people who may be able to help when it’s time to get letters of recommendation.
  3. Spend the summer before college wisely.
    There is much your child can do in the summer to help him or her with college in the fall, including taking college-level classes, joining a community service group, working or interning.
  4. There is more than one standardized test option.
    Colleges accept either ACT or SAT scores. Your son or daughter should talk with a guidance counselor who can give advice on which one would be best for him/her to take.
  5. Freshmen need a four-year plan.
    It’s never too early to help your child chart an academic course through high school that will help him/her get into college.  
  6. Create a list of “good fit” colleges.
    Work with your child and a guidance counselor to choose colleges that would be a good fit for your son/daughter academically, socially and financially. 
  7. Research the colleges you’re interested in.
    Admissions officers are looking for prospective students who are good matches for their university and look favorably on those applicants who know details about the school. Your child can get some of this valulable information by talking to a current student or graduate of that school.
  8. Tuition isn’t the only expense to consider.
    Applying to college has its costs, including the application fee, standardized test preparation and fees, and visiting campus. This free application budget calculator will help you calculate those costs.
  9. Campus visits are important.
    You and your son/daughter will learn a lot on these visits. We’ll talk more about this later.
  10. We” are not applying. 
    This process is about your child. That means he/she needs to fill out the applications and write the essays, not you. Though it may be tempting to step in and do it, your role is to support him/her.
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