How to Prepare Your Child for College Admissions

College preparations can be as stressful as they are exciting. They earmark the start of a new life for teenagers, a life full of independence and freedom. Both parents and teenagers look forward to this period with high hopes and expectations, but it is not always sunshine and rainbows. College preparation requires time, effort, and training, and planning your course of action beforehand is important.

As a parent expecting to wave your kid goodbye after 18 years, there are various steps you need to keep in mind to increase your child’s chances of successful and constructive undergrad years. You can also seek help from easily accessible online or print resources. For instance, if your child wishes to attain admission to a business school, you can take assistance from business school admission resources to guide them in their journey. Let us take a look at some other things you can do to help your child in college admissions.

Research Best Possible Schools

The most important thing you can do to help your child in college admissions is to research the best possible schools for them. This search is based on their individual interests, future career goals, academic performance, extracurriculars, and various other aspects. The best thing you can do is search for available programs that align with your child’s career goals and choose the one that best satisfies their interests and passions.

However, academic programs are not the only benchmark through which you can narrow down potential schools. You must also gauge the potential of clubs, extracurriculars, and program activities available to support their interests. If possible, you can take a tour of potential schools, sit in on a class, or talk to students studying there to get a feel of the campus culture.

Pay Attention to Course Selection

College admission applications require minimum course completion. To satisfy this requirement, it is important to do your homework and visit different college websites to get an idea of what they require. You can then have your child collaborate with a school counselor to choose each year’s high school courses. You may also reference the public universities’ admissions standards in your state. Different high schools offer varying types of courses, such as the following:

Advanced Placement (AP)

AP courses are college-level courses in 38 subjects that offer college credit if students manage to attain a particular score on an exam.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

IB courses are rigorous and include a wide array of reading and writing curricula. Some colleges accept these courses for credit.

Dual Enrollment or Dual Credit

Dual credit courses are higher-level, allowing students to earn college and high school credit simultaneously. These courses may be taught at a nearby college.

Focus on Standardized Tests

One important thing that every child needs help with is standardized tests, may they be ACT or SAT. Although these test scores are optional for some schools, securing and submitting a strong result can dramatically increase the chances of admission. Both the SAT and ACT websites offer free test preparation on their websites, which is a great resource for your kid to benefit from. You can also search for other ACT and SAT resources and decide whether your child needs to take the test a few times for a good score.

Work on the Essays

Almost all college admission forms come with an essay requirement. To evaluate applications holistically, schools pay attention to all parts of an application before reaching a decision. Thus, supplemental essays and personal statements hold the potential to tilt the odds in your favor simply because they transcend the quantitative measures of test scores and GPA.

Such essays are also a good way of turning your child’s creative wheels, but that does not mean you should not guide them every step of the way. Excellent college essays are imaginative and compelling; they capture the reader’s attention and employ descriptive imagery to retain that attention. You can help your child in this seemingly arduous process by encouraging them to chalk out multiple drafts of their essays and continue editing. What’s more important is your consistent support and encouragement because this process can put considerable pressure on students.

Teach Them Vital Life Skills

Preparing for your child’s college life does not start and end at college admissions alone. The actual challenge is not securing admission into a prestigious institute but rather being well-equipped to spend four years in that place as effectively and efficiently as one can. That is where life skills come into action. All the knowledge and education for a good life cannot be attained through classrooms alone. That is why you need to educate your child about how to manage a budget, cook for themselves, handle their laundry, and several other seemingly secondary tasks.

You can do so by providing practical experience to your kids, which starts from assigning house chores, showing them how to manage a washing machine, and giving them cleaning duties once a week. You also need to show them how to budget and live a healthy life without emptying their pockets.

Strike Tough Conversations

Preparing your children for college admissions is not an easy task and may require you to strike up tough conversations. These include making your child understand the potential risks that come with the independence of college life, along with the consequences associated with particular behaviors. For instance, taking a walk at night may be safe around your neighborhood, but it may put them at risk on their college campus.

Certain other important topics to explore for your child’s safety include sexual assault, consent, drug and alcohol use, hazing, and dating safely. This aspect also includes their mental well-being: you need to ensure that your child knows the routes they can take when they need to talk to someone or need emotional support. You can search for school resources available to students that can prove helpful to your child, such as peer support and counseling. This can usher them in the right direction whenever they need help.

Support Their Financial Needs

College is a major money drain, and many students seek help from financial aid or student loans to cover their expenses. Even if you are not in a position to support your child’s financial needs in college, the best you can do is help them navigate their way by pointing out suitable options. You can also help them gather the necessary documents for loans and financial assistance applications.

Most schools opt for the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine the kind of aid particular students qualify for. Other colleges require a supplemental financial aid form called the CSS/PROFILE. Keep in mind that this form has an earlier deadline than FAFSA.

Related reading: 5 Benefits of Hiring a College Admissions Consultant

Summing Up

Preparing for college is one of the hardest points in both a student’s and their parent’s lives. But as a parent, you can support your child by investing time and effort into their future and doing your homework the best you can.

Your emotional support also matters a lot: you can take a little pressure off your kid by making them understand that there is no perfect school, just the right one. You can also reassure them that you will do all you can to ensure that they get a good education and pursue their interests.


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