College admissions consultants believe that students who have college in mind when they begin high school take a big step toward actually going to college. This is true whether your son or daughter is the first in the family to go to college or the fourth generation to attend. As your student begins high school, there are several steps he or she can take to ensure that they get into the college of their choice! These suggestions will help get the ball rolling.
- Advise your student to meet with the school guidance counselor early on. S/he has lots of experience in helping students position themselves for college. Getting to know the school counselor now will be beneficial when the student needs to make course selection choices throughout high school. Knowing the guidance counselor will also come in handy when your student needs college admissions assistance.
- The classes your student takes in 9th grade establish the level of course work they will take in grades 10-12. While it is a transition year, freshman grades and course levels count. Because high school transcripts carry the greatest weight in the college application process, getting the best grades possible in each course should be a major focus.
- Encourage your student to explore their learning style, to know how they learn best, and to study effectively. Check available resources the high school offers to support student learning. If they need extra help in a particular subject, or if they want a tutor in writing or math, the school counselor can help them find one. Take this quiz to find out which learning style works best for you.
- Extracurricular activities are important. As a freshman, students can explore activities they are good at, as well as those that pique their interest or seem fun. Extracurricular activities are great because they help young people grow and develop interests. Participation in activities every week demonstrates dedication, commitment, and leadership, which will contribute to their college application.
- High school is a time when students learn about themselves and their personalities. While their likes and dislikes will change many times during high school and beyond, self-awareness at every stage builds self-confidence. They might look into profiles like Myers Briggs and other personality tests that help develop self-knowledge and reflection. Examples of some personality assessments are 16 Personalities test and Teen Personality Quiz.
- Making friends and being on diverse teams builds social skills. Everyone wants to be liked, and students, at this stage, are developing a knack for friendships. Accepting invitations helps them identify potential friends, become open to new and different people, and develop patience when forming friendships. Having a good friend in high school makes it more fun; developing a core group to hang out with is satisfying. As they join extracurricular activities, people will click. Friendships teach young people a lot about who they are, and what they need and want. Here is a discussion on teenage friendships.
- Consider your family’s financial situation. Talk with your son or daughter about their vision of going to college. What level of support can you offer them? Will they need financial aid? Though they are not at the point of applying for college now, this website can assist your family in thinking ahead about college payment.
- If your student already has an idea of what he or she wants to study in college, they might want to research schools. Most college websites will have virtual tours and other information that can give you a good first glimpse into their offerings.
- A reliable place to get answers to many of your questions about college is the Common Data Set. This website is a great source of general information about the college application process and can lead to more specific information about schools they may be interested in.
The tips outlined above will guide you through your high school years and serve you well in your college application process.