6 Steps to help your child pick the right college
Step 1- Help your child master the SAT / ACT
Early test prep is essential to the college application process. It is recommended that students begin preparing for the SAT/ACT exam during sophomore year of high school so that they have plenty of time to prepare and get familiar with the exam. Preparation is key to reducing anxiety and achieving a desirable score. Advance preparation will set the stage for taking an official test during junior year. Use this test as a benchmark to determine if your child should take the test again to improve their score. A professional tutor can be extremely beneficial during this time to help your student develop test taking skills and to focus on specific areas for improvement.
Take a look at this 1-year test prep plan to get a better understanding of how to help your child prepare for the SAT/ACT exam.
Step 2: Make sure your child is taking the right course load
The SAT/ACT score is, of course, only part of the college application. Schools are keen to see that a student has taken courses that will prepare them well for college level academics. Make sure that your student is taking classes that challenge them, whether that means taking Honors, AP, or dual enrollment classes.
If you are unsure of what classes your child should be taking, feel free to read over the following blog for more information- SAT/ACT Course Load for high school
Step 3: Be aware of your child’s GPA and get help if needed
Alongside standardized test scores, a student’s overall GPA is the most important factor in college admissions. Colleges want to see not just that a student has enrolled in academically challenging courses but also that they have been able to manage their time and studies in order to do well in those classes.
Here is a list of significant factors in a college application:
- Course Load
- SAT/ACT Exam
- Extracurricular activities
- Entrance Essay
- Reference (if requested by the college)
If your child is struggling with any of these, make sure to get them assistance at the first sign of any problem. Sometimes, hiring a qualified tutor is the best way to help.
Step 4: Be proactive and thorough with college research
Sit down with your child and make a list of their priorities regarding their college experience, and then have your student do independent research to find schools that fit their qualifications. When deciding on the ideal college, your child should take into consideration both personal and academic goals for the future. To do this, it can be helpful to divide research of individual college options into three parts:
- Basic Fact Gathering
- Academic Research
- Personal Investigation
Gathering information at each of these levels will allow you and your child to look at each school holistically and make educated decisions.
If you would like more information on how to research a college, take a look at the following blog-3 steps to pick the right college
Step 5: Tour the colleges and get a feel for each one
Your student’s research should help narrow the focus down to a few schools. One of the best things you can do before making any commitments is to take a tour of the school and ask questions that will help your student understand what it’s like being a student at that school. With each question, your child can dig deeper into the heart of the university and better understand if it is the right place from both a learning and personal point of view.
If you aren’t sure of what questions to ask, take a look at the following list to get a better idea- Questions to ask on your college tour
Step 6: Have real conversations about their future
It can sometimes be difficult to have a genuine conversation with your child about their future. As parents, we often feel we know what is best for our children – but it’s important to remember that your child needs to have ownership of the college decision in order to be successful when they have more independence. Be sure to have clear conversations with your child about what their expectations and aspirations are. Things may be unclear at first, but each conversation will help your child better understand and prioritize what they value in a college.
How can MINDSPIRE help with your student?
At MINDSPIRE, we provide tutoring and test prep that is tailored to specific learning styles and individual needs. If you are interested in getting a tutor for any standardized exam, contact us or give us a call at 844-537-PREP (7737).