How to Get Your Teen Prepared for College
Written by Mark Sampson,
in Section Featured Articles
With the process of applying to college becoming increasingly competitive, many parents are left with one question: “How can I get my child ready for college?”
Yes, your child may be getting good grades, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee him or her admission to their first choice college. There are many aspects to consider, such as extracurricular activities, and taking the right classes in order to convince a program they are truly interested. It's never too early to start the preparation for higher education. The following tips are designed to you get your child fully prepared for college:
From the first day of their freshman year, make the most of high school.
Colleges prefer to see students who have high school as an opportunity to start them on the right path for college. For example, many colleges now prefer that a teen have some foundation in a foreign language. This means you must make certain they start taking these classes during their freshman year. If your child is planning on a career that puts a strong emphasis on math, be sure they take the classes needed to ensure they can be placed in AP Calculus their senior year.
Don’t assume good grades are enough.
There is a difference between your child doing well in college preparation classes and doing well in easier classes. Make certain that your teen is being challenged. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 66% of staffers place considerable importance on how challenging classes are, instead of simply looking at grades.
Don’t encourage your teen to sign up for too many activities.
Yes, colleges want students who are well rounded, but this doesn’t mean the same child should play baseball and basketball, sing in the chorus, be on the yearbook staff, be in the Math Club, and run track with the cooking class. It is better for your child to be fully committed to a few activities than to be involved in multiple ones superficially.
Don’t allow your child to coast through their final year of high school.
It is not unusual for students to work hard the first few years to ensure they have an easier course load their senior year. But senior year is often the period that prospective colleges look at first. Has your student stuck to his or her goals? Kept involved? This will often be a predictor of how they will do through several years of college.
Don’t encourage your child to apply to too many colleges.
It takes a good bit of time and effort to write college essays, so it is easy to see why the majority of students report that the more colleges they apply to, the more stressful the experience becomes. All this added pressure can actually hurt your child’s chances of getting into their first choice college.