What to Talk About With Your College-Bound Student in Preparation for Their College Applications
By Kendell Shaffer
My son is a high school junior and we talk about college in small increments. We are trying to balance his life and not make it all about college, because at some point we know he will be shifting his focus to “it’s all about college.”
So what can we talk about now to plant the seeds so we are not scrambling next fall when he officially begins his college application process?
At a recent high school meeting for parents of juniors, we learned that colleges look at what the student will be doing the summer between junior and senior year. The colleges want to see that the student is either working, enrolled in an academic class, or enrolled in some sort of program to enrich their education.
This is not the summer to hang out at the beach! Luckily our son has already thought this through and is looking into several summer programs.
I have already put the SAT and ACT test dates on the family calendar, so my son can look ahead at the entire year and see when the tests are coming up. Hopefully, this will allow him to pace himself with his test prep and his social activities.
We’ve printed his transcript and have gone over it together. He understands the difference between his GPA and his weighted GPA. He sees what classes he needs to bring his grades up and what classes he needs to maintain grades.
After winter break, we will meet with his college counselor. Since he is interested in perhaps going to art school or drama school, we have encouraged him to set up meetings with the head of the art and drama departments at his school.
He will be able to get their input on colleges which might be a good fit for him. I’m encouraging him to seek out their advice since they know his work better than his college counselor will, even though she did attend his school play this weekend!
As a family, we will determine if we are going to go on a college tour this spring break. This will be planned and booked over the Thanksgiving holiday.
After getting input from his art and drama teacher, he will start working on his art portfolio and select some audition pieces. I know from past experience that if he wants to apply to drama school, he will need a reel and a resume. These are pieces that will take time pull together and I want him to get started on them as soon as he can.
It helps to have gone through this college prep with my daughter. But even if you haven’t had that experience, it’s not too soon to educate yourselves and jump right in!
College Prep List:
- Plan for your student’s educational based summer activity
- Add SAT and ACT test dates to calendar
- Review your student’s transcript
- Meet with your student’s college counselor and department heads
- Think about what colleges to visit with your student during Spring break
- Help your student plan art portfolios or prepare audition materials