Are You The Parent of a Rising High School Senior? Make the Most of Summer to Help Your Child Prepare for College Application in the Fall

by Rosalind Lee, Guidance Education, Independent College Admission Counselor /

You and your family have made it through the lockdown.  It’s finally summer and time to relax a bit.  Despite all the uncertainties about returning to school in the fall, grading, testing, and how all that will affect the college admission decision, there are many items on your college application checklist that you can get going now and get done before the start of the senior year.  Here are the main activities you can focus on to help your child prepare for college application and a successful, less stressful, senior year.

  1. Narrow down college list:  This is the starting point of the application process. Virtual campus events and online information sessions are not as good as actual campus visits and speaking face-to-face with college students and admission officers, but the positives are that by getting information online, you can save time and expenses and cover a lot of ground.  Take advantage of the abundant online resources to narrow down the interest list to 8 to 10 colleges.
  2. Make decision on testing: Many colleges have adopted the test-optional policy, and depending on your child’s college list, a testing decision has to be made.  If strong scores are realistic, and testing is available without undue hardship, then go for it.  It’s a trade off between time to prep for the test (and the other pieces of the application) and having the focus and time to ensure a strong showing in the senior year coursework. 
  3. Start filling out application forms:  Get all the administrative parts of the application forms filled out.  Make a list of the information you still need to gather and compile, and start working on the list.
  4. Take inventory of personal statements: Get an idea of how many personal statements, supplemental statements, and short answers are required. Start with the main essay for the Common App.  For those applying to the UCs, start with the four UC Personal Insight Questions.  Writing personal statements is a process and a journey of self-reflection. Brainstorming, choosing the right prompts, drafting, re-drafting, editing, proof-reading, and getting second opinions take a great deal of time.  Your child will need the whole summer for this process.
  5. Last but not least, form your team:  The college application process is a project — one of the most important that your child will undertake.  It’s also a learning experience, and your child should take ownership of it.  Think about whom you would like on your team to help and the resources you might want to provide your child.  Doing it well prepares your child for success in college and beyond.

For more information on the college admission process, application strategy, admission essays, and college search, visit, email info@guidanceeducation, or call at (425) 998-6230.

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