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Taking the Right Steps to College

Updated on October 17, 2013
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The College Preparation Process: Middle School

The approach you take to college preparation hinges strongly on your child’s grade level. For example, the college preparatory steps taken by a middle school student will differ markedly from that of a high school senior. It is critical to begin taking incremental steps at an early age in order to facilitate the entire process. For instance, a middle school student should be evaluated by their previous academic history, and they should have their future goals systematically outlined for their high school career. Another critical component to preparing your child for college entails assessing their vocabulary abilities, and enrolling them in enriching, educational summer activities. You may also consider the prospect of entering them into varsity level high school sports. You should also underscore their key weaknesses, and tackle them before high school begins.

The College Preparation Process: Early High School

The journey to college officially begins during the freshman or sophomore year of high school. During these years, academic courses become increasingly difficult, and students must begin preparing for SATs and other standardized exams. College preparation during this time should be centralized on calculating GPA, increasing extracurricular involvement, possibly enrolling them in a second language, a talent portfolio and resume, etc. They should also begin forging better connections with their educators, because these very educators may ultimately write their recommendations. You should also make considerations about possible summer plans and activities as well. Many high school students will undertake internships, and a variety of other impressive activities.

Junior and Senior Year

And of course, junior and senior year will be the most rigorous, and will require the most attention and dedication from your teen of any other year in the college preparation process. During this time, they should begin developing deeper relationships with their educators in a professional way, because recommendations are required during the college application process. They should being drilling and studying for the SAT, and taking administered SAT and SAT II exams. If they do not score superbly the first time, they should reserve time for a retake. Another crucial element will entail researching potential colleges, and various other details, including their academic requirements, admission rates, personal statements and much more. Mock interviews will also provide them with adequate preparation for the college application process. Many find it helpful to visit college campuses, in order to develop a better feel for the University atmosphere overall.

Applications

The college applications will be the final determinant in the preparation phase to study in the United States. There are many universities that will accept a generic, online application. Others, however, will require a specific application tailored to that university. It is always crucial to begin these applications well in advance in order to forgo the possibility of missing the deadline. Another critical factor in the application process is that of academic aid. According to Capital College Consulting, many universities require financial aid applications before the student is officially accepted.

The key to pursuing the royal road to college success is adequate planning and preparation. If you begin harvesting the resources you need and nurturing your child’s innate talents from the very beginning, the college application process will ensue seamlessly.

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