After supporting hundreds of families through the college planning process, I’ve uncovered a few oversights that tend to set many teenagers back.
And many times, it’s too late to act on them.
You don’t know what you don’t know. And so I’m here to help set a few things straight so that your teen’s journey is more productive during high school on the path toward college.
1| You need to understand the general college planning timeline, starting in freshman year.
Every step in college admissions should be planned out from the very start of high school. Sticking to an outlined plan means that your teen will be set up for success up through application time.
Your teen will need to plan for things like:
- Guidance counselor visits
- ACT and/or SAT testing
- Visiting colleges
- Writing college essays
- Completing & submitting applications
- …and getting it all in on time.
And remember to put deadlines on the calendar!
2| Your teen’s high school guidance counselor may not be directing your teen toward taking the right courses.
Parents often assume that their kids’ high schools have the college admissions thing figured out, and the whole plan for the students who attend is to be ready to get into the right college fit after graduation.
But unless your teen goes to a high school that boasts its commitment to college prep, this may unfortunately not be the case.
High school counselors may be focused solely on getting students set up with the courses they need to graduate from high school, while neglecting those that are actually needed for college admissions.
Check out What You Need to Know about Choosing High School Courses before your teen commits to high school courses each year.
3| Take the ACT or SAT exam at least twice.
By December or January of junior year, most students have taken Algebra 2 (the highest math they’ll encounter on the exams), and so are ready to start taking the ACT and/or the SAT exams.
Starting in the winter for the first college entrance exam gives an opportunity for students to have many other options to sit for it again later on to improve upon that score. A spring start allows for a few options to take it in the future, too, but those opportunities become much more limited.
Check out Why Your Teen Should Take the SAT or ACT More Than Once for a rundown of why it’s important to take the same test at least twice. You’ll set your teenager up for success if you do!
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