Preparing for College

  • Preparing for College
    This is a brief overview of what high school students can do to prepare for

    college and ways that parents can help with that process.


    Freshman Year:

    • Discuss the value of a college education.
    • Create a space and time for your child to establish good study habits
    • Promote extended, well-paced study rather than short-term cramming.
    • Encourage your student to take an appropriately demanding academic curriculum.
    • Discuss the impact of grades and course selection on college admission.
    • Check curriculum requirements for college entrance.
    • Encourage involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteering, and internships or other work experiences.
    • Plan for college expenses…explore your savings options.


     Sophomore Year:

    • Start to network with your son or daughter’s teachers and counselors.
    • Talk about his or her interests and career possibilities.
    • Begin exploring appropriate college options with your student.
    • Continue your support of extracurricular involvement and encourage participation in leadership roles.
    • Keep college correspondence in a well-organized file.


    Junior Year:

    • Attend information sessions and financial aid nights sponsored by the school.
    • Assist your student in creating a list of personal interests, goals and activities which can then be used to narrow the college search.
    • Attend college fairs held at local colleges.
    • Register for and take the PSAT/NMSQT, then link scores to Khan Academy to established individualized study plans for the SAT.
    • Consult with your son or daughter’s counselor for college search ideas and advice.
    • Review all options: if a school seems too costly, find out what scholarships and other financial assistance may be available to you.
    • Your student should prepare for the ACT/SAT exams.  The SAT is given to all juniors in April as part of the mandatory state testing program.
    • Find out if your student should take the Advanced Placement for SAT subject tests.
    • Network with other parents.


    Summer before Senior Year:

    • Help your son or daughter sort through college mail as it arrives.
    • Review ACT/SAT results and discuss whether your student should retest.
    • Visit different types of schools: small and large, vocational and liberal arts, private and public.
    • Develop a list of questions for colleges and take them with you on your visits.


    Senior Year:

    • Students should ask teachers, coaches, community leaders, counselors, etc. to write letters of recommendation well in advance of application deadlines.
    • Submit requests for transcripts in the guidance office at least two weeks before deadlines.
    • Send in applications and be aware of deadlines.
    • Follow-up to make sure that materials arrive at colleges.
    • Make additional visits and encourage your student to spend the night and attend classes at the schools that spark his or her interest.
    • Remain open-minded as the short list develops.
    • Stay positive – the search for the right school can be exhausting and stressful at times.
    • Meet deadlines when applying for merit-based scholarships and need-based assistance (for example, FAFSA).
    • Collect all of your tax information and file for financial assistance in a timely fashion (and keep copies).
    • Notify the chosen school of the final decision and send in the tuition deposit.  It is also common courtesy to notify all other schools that granted acceptance.