Preparing Your Teenager for College – 5 Tips for Parents to Consider

Preparing Your Teenager for College – 5 Tips for Parents to Consider

There are a lot of steps in between helping your child with the college application process and dropping them off at the college dorm, so it is important for you to have a plan of action.  The following tips can help you get off to the right start and have a solid plan to follow.

Tip #1 – Search and Apply to Colleges and Universities that are Reasonable

You and your college-bound teenager should look for and apply to colleges that are feasible, affordable, and provide a curriculum that fits their needs, qualifications and interests.  However, there are thousands of colleges to choose from, and oftentimes it is hard to know where to start.

With this in mind, a quick, easy and hassle-free way of beginning the college search and selection process is to access the Smart College Report, which offers everything from a list of colleges that match your son or daughter’s preferences to invaluable tips and resources about loan borrowing, financial aid, scholarship information, letter templates to contact admissions officers, and if your child plays a sport and wants to continue playing in college, a letter template series to help them contact coaches, and much more.

Tip #2 – Narrow Down Colleges Wisely

Once you and your teenager review the list of colleges in their Smart College Report, we recommend that together, you narrow the colleges down as follows:

First, select a few that are known as “safety schools”, which means that based upon their academic profile, your son or daughter will almost certainly be admitted (i.e., their GPA and test scores are higher than the average student at that college).  Next, they should choose an additional few colleges that are “match schools”, which are those that they can be reasonably certain they can get in to, because their GPA and test scores match the college’s specific requirements.  Then, your teenager should also pick several “reach schools”, which are colleges that put them at the lower end or below the admitted student spectrum.

This systematic approach will give your son or daughter a full range of colleges to choose from and apply to.

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How to Compose an Outstanding College Admissions Resume

Think that resumes are only for those looking for a job?  Well, not exactly!  High school resumes are a perfect way for colleges to get a detailed glimpse of you in terms of your academics, accomplishments, extracurricular activities, hobbies and work history.  They are also important in that they can help you to prepare for a college interview, supplement your scholarship applications, and give those who are writing recommendation letters on your behalf a sense of who you are, holistically.  Don’t know how to get started?  Follow these simple tips for creating a stellar college resume!

Make sure your college resume has the essentials

Your resume should include the following information:

    •    A header that includes your name, contact information, and email address;
    •    Information about your high school such as the date of your graduation, weighted GPA, class ranking, and standardized test scores;
    •    Any awards such AP honors and other achievements;
    •    A list of courses, even those that you took during the summer or abroad;
    •    Extracurricular activities;
    •    Community service and involvement;
    •    Work experience;
    •    Hobbies; and
    •    Special skills and talents, such as fluency in a foreign language or some other type of expertise.

Be concise

Pare down all of the activities you showcase to the ones that represent you best as a worthy college candidate. Also, make sure to not be too wordy and try and limit what you include on your resume to one to two pages, max.

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To-Dos – For Student-Athletes Preparing for College

To-Dos – For Student-Athletes Preparing for College

All college bound students are required to take certain steps in order to complete the college search and application process. However, high school student-athletes face several additional steps if they want to play college level sports.  These are as follows:

Be clear about what level of play you aspire to

It is very important to be clear about your abilities and what division of college is realistic for you to pursue.  Talk to your coach to help you narrow down a list of colleges and choose one that is right for you based upon your skills and experience.

Attend a summer sports camp at your college of interest

Attending a sports camp at a college of interest is extremely important because not only does it expose you to college coaches, it also helps to give you a good feel for the campus.  

Register with the NCAA Eligibility Center

To be eligible to play Division I or II sports, you must register with the NCAA Eligibility Center, ideally by the beginning of your junior year of high school.  The NCAA recommends that student-athletes register at the beginning of their junior year in high school, but many students register after their junior year. There is no registration deadline, but students must be cleared by the Eligibility Center before they receive athletic scholarships or compete at a Division I or II institution.  Visit the NCAA Eligibility Center website to learn more.

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A Student’s Guide to Choosing the Right Major

A Student’s Guide to Choosing the Right Major

Choosing the right major is an extremely exciting yet critical part of attending college that can pave your way for a successful academic and post-college career.  That is why it is important to be educated on how to choose a major in a smart and calculated way.  Keep in mind that you do not have to be completely set on a specific major when starting the college application process. However, you should have somewhat of an idea, if you don’t already, as to what interests you.  

First, when considering a major, don’t wait until the last minute.  This means that as early as possible, even before attending college, you should start thinking about areas of study that excite you.  Ask yourself:  what do I like learning about?  What past high school courses did I find fascinating or interesting?  For instance, do you like learning about history?  Or, are you considering a medical profession in the future and think that the sciences may be the right path? Or even, did you always like building things when you were younger and think an engineering degree might be up your alley? Accordingly, as early as possible, start considering choosing a few majors and work your way towards narrowing them down before going to college. Keep in mind that at most colleges, you must choose your major in your sophomore year of college.

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Two or Four-Year College? Which One is Right for You?

Two or Four-Year College?  Which One is Right for You?

Although many students have their mind and hearts set on attending a four-year institution, not everyone is certain as to their path to higher education.  With this in mind, consider the following information about two and four-year colleges to help you determine which may be right for you.

2-Year Colleges

•    Why attend?

While 4-year colleges often receive all of the media hype and attention, there are many benefits to attending a 2-year program.  First, 2-year colleges are much more affordable than four-year programs.  Moreover, they offer students the chance to start their careers faster through various certification programs that are attractive to many employers.  Lastly, they also enable students to strike a better school-life balance.  Meaning, students can address their family and work obligations while attending classes on a part-time basis.  

•    Who attends a 2-year program?

Students with less than perfect records, those looking for a technical or trade vocation, or those who want to ease their way into a four-year program are perfect for a 2-year college.

•    What courses can you take?

2-year programs offer pre-requisite courses that enable you to transfer credits to a four-year college.  They also offer a wide array of classes that cater to local industries.

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Top Tips for ACT Success

Top Tips for ACT Success

The ACT, a college entrance exam that is offered in many states, has for some students become a better option than the SAT.  In fact, every four-year institution in the United States now accepts the ACT as a common standardized test that can help a student gain admission to college.  As such, it is important to better understand the structure of the ACT and the benefits of taking it, as the exam may, in the long run, be a better overall fit than the SAT.  

What does the ACT look like?

Unlike the SAT, the ACT does not contain several sections.  Instead, it is divided into four separate, timed tests in the following subjects - English, math, reading, and science.  There is also an optional essay that most students choose to complete as part of the exam.  As for the structure of the exam, the English portion contains seventy-five questions that a student must finish within forty-five minutes.  There are also sixty math problems that must be completed within sixty minutes, plus a reading and science section that have forty questions each, both of which must be completed within thirty-five minutes or less.  The ACT is scored between 1 and 36.

Is the ACT right for me, and how can I get the score I want?

If you are thinking about taking the ACT or are undecided, consider the following tips to help you decide if it is the right exam for you, and how to obtain your ideal score:

Know that you have options – experts recommend that you take a practice test of both the ACT and SAT to determine which is right for you.  Since colleges put equal weight on the SAT and ACT, there is nothing wrong with taking the ACT if you performed better on it than the SAT.  Since getting a high score on a standardized test is critical to getting into college, if you find that the ACT is better suited for you, then don’t hesitate to pursue it as your test of choice.

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Top Reasons Why College Applications Do Not Get Accepted

How do you ensure that you get accepted into your college of choice?  At a minimum, it is extremely important that your application is complete, meaning, that you follow all steps required of each college when submitting your application materials.  Unfortunately, even the most qualified students are rejected from colleges each year simply because they did not submit a full application, they did not meet the qualifications required, or some other important reason.  Below are some of the top reasons why college applications do not get accepted along with some helpful tips on submitting the most competitive application possible.

The applicant does not meet the academic threshold – the majority of colleges base their admissions decisions on all parts of a student’s application, not just on grades and test scores alone.   Hence, the types of courses a student takes during high school (of course the most challenging being preferred) and his or her corresponding grades as well as extracurricular activities can greatly influence one’s chances of being admitted.  As provided by a leading U.S. academic institution, “we have a bottom line when it comes to admissions, and if a student does not achieve over a certain number of our admissions factors, it can lead to an overall denial of their application.”

The application is incomplete – as noted above, an incomplete application can lead to a denial of even the most qualified applicant. This means that such things as missing test scores, recommendation letters, personal statements, and other required documentation can delay the review process and even lead to a rejection if they are not received in a timely fashion.  This is why we recommend that you do your homework ahead of time to know what each application requires, and the associated deadlines of each.  Create a schedule to guide you during the process and keep on top of the timelines required for each step of the application. Check off the requirements that have been fulfilled so that you know where each application stands.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Majors & Salaries

Frequently Asked Questions about Majors & Salaries

For college bound students, an important factor to consider when starting the college search and selection process is what to major in. For some students, they already have their mind set on a major while others have not begun to think about it.  Regardless, it is an important decision, and with some education, can be made wisely.  With this in mind, consider the following frequently asked questions (and answers) about majors and salaries:

What are the highest paying majors, and their average starting salaries?

The top five highest paying majors and their starting salaries are: petroleum engineering ($68,500), aerospace engineering ($68,000), chemical engineering ($67,300), computer science ($64,600), and physical therapy (64,400).

What are the top ten most popular majors?

The top ten most popular majors in the U.S. are: (1) biology, (2) business administration, (3) communication, (4) computer science, (5) criminal justice, (6) primary education, (7) marketing and communications, (8) nursing, (9) psychology, and (10) political science.

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Simple Guide for Parents of College Bound Students

Starting to think about college is exciting for most high school students.  However, more often than not, students are not the only ones who experience this sentiment.  Parents are often involved in helping their son or daughter during this time, often recounting their own emotions and experiences when they were in the same position.  In this view, it is important for parents to have an organized plan of attack so that they can add the most value to their son or daughter’s college search and selection process.   As such, consider the tips below for you to follow as you embark on this very important journey with your child:

    •    Do your research – the only way to learn about which colleges may be right for your son or daughter is to do as much research as possible.  One tip in streamlining this process is to access and use the Choose It Right Smart College Report, which is an “all-in-one and done” service that with the click of a button, offers you everything from a list of colleges that match your son or daughter’s qualifications and preferences to critical information about scholarships, paying for college, and other important factors.  This will save you 100’s of hours of researching colleges, and provide you with the perfect place to start the search and selection process.

    •    Be a well-informed guide – once you have the results of the Smart College Report, discuss them with your son or daughter.  Open and honest conversations about college possibilities, including whether there are any financial and/or geographical restrictions, are critical to get out on the table as early as possible so as to best manage your child’s expectations.

    •    Narrow down your list of colleges – now that you have a list of colleges for your son or daughter to consider, narrow them down to perhaps ten or less and conduct further research on each. This includes checking out each college’s website, doing campus visits, and talking with current and former students about their thoughts and experiences.

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How Student-Athletes Can Maximize Their Game On and Off the Field

How Student-Athletes Can Maximize Their Game On and Off the Field

For many high school student-athletes, playing sports at the college level is a lifelong goal.   However, some may not know what steps they can take to maximize their chances of beating the competition and advancing to the next level. That is why it is important for you to consider the following tips while still in high school to realize your dreams and play the college sport of your choice:

1)    Routine, routine, routine! – being a student-athlete forces you to have to manage and effectively balance a busy academic and athletic schedule.  Keeping a daily routine helps you to stay focused and on target to meet your obligations both on and off the field.  This is extremely important for college coaches, as they want to see that prospective athletes are able to handle a large load and demanding schedule, which is typical for the college athlete.

2)    Get enough sleep – 8 hours of sleep each night is not impossible, despite what some people think.  For student-athletes, if you can stick to a daily routine, it will be easier for you to manage getting enough sleep so that you are well-rested and able to optimally perform both in the classroom and on the field.

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©2024 Choose It Right, LLC


©2024 Choose It Right, LLC