I believe that it is important for students to take control of the college process.
Often a young adult’s first big decision is deciding where to attend college. Since there are several college and career options, students must be prepared with current information, focused planning, and good decision-making skills.
Optimally, students should begin their preliminary college research during the freshman or sophomore years. Early planning can help students schedule the appropriate academic classes, as well as engage in meaningful extracurricular and summer activities. During junior year, students should be taking the SAT and ACT, visiting schools, assuming leadership positions, and working hard to get the best grades possible. A dynamic college list should be created in the spring of junior year, so there is plenty of time to research options. The summer before senior year is the ideal time to create a final list of “best fit” colleges and write college essays; however, it is never too late to begin.
A clearly defined plan will identify potential opportunities and pitfalls, while helping your child stay on track, without succumbing to the college panic. Regardless of the start date, students who take the lead in the college search process feel “ownership” over the choices they make. This results in a smoother transition, less stress, and a better chance of a successful college experience.