Junior year in high school is the most important time to begin your child’s college prep and selection journey. To begin, it’s important to identify the roles and duties of the three major players in this journey (the counselor, the parents and the student).
The Role of the Counselor
- Advise parents and students in the college search process
- Advise students about career exploration
- Advocate on the student’s behalf
- Inform students of test dates and distribute registration materials
- Assist students in writing and editing their college essay
- Write a letter of recommendation for each senior and follow up with teachers for their recommendations
- Process and submit supporting application documents in an accurate and timely manner
The Role of the Parents
- Help your child register for the SAT/ACT and send official scores to colleges (if necessary)
- Help your child prepare applications
- Pay close attention to deadlines for college admissions
- Fill out financial aid documentation (FAFSA) and talk to financial aid offices
- Establish clear ground rules around school selection and money (have a budget for what you can realistically spend and/or borrow). You can’t afford to bankrupt yourself or burden your child with large amounts of debt.
- Establish clear ground rules around your child’s selection of a major. Your child should come out college with the ability to get a good job. It’s no longer enough to just have a degree.
- Attend college visits and fairs with your child
- Spend time your child reviewing college viewbooks and websites. Check for specific information on tuition requirements.
- Identify the “Right College Fit” based on cost, size, geographic location and available programs
- Be supportive and helpful throughout the journey
- Maintain open and honest communication with your child and the counselor
The Role of the Student
- Focus on high school coursework. End your junior year strong. Junior grades really matter!
- Identify your strengths, weaknesses, academic support needs and passions
- Assess college criteria and determine college requirements
- Prepare portfolios and/or auditions materials (if required)
- Prepare applications and prepare for the SAT/ACT (if needed)
- Schedule meetings with the college counselor to review applications and essays
- Arrange college interviews and visits
- Be aware of all college deadlines
- Maintain open and honest communication with your parents and the counselor
The college prep and selection journey is one of the most important journeys in a child’s life. Please remember that college is about choosing a school where your child can succeed and it’s about finishing not just getting in.