Now that the class of 2022 is “done” — meaning they all have their college decisions and hopefully know where they’re going to college — it’s time to focus on the class of 2023.
11th grade parents, are you ready?
To help you and your junior to get a jumpstart on the college process, we suggest you do these three things:
#1 – Start researching and visiting colleges.
A great way to start the process is to visit 5 to 7 colleges. And virtual visits count!!! You should plan to visit different types of schools too. A state university, a small liberal arts college, and a private university. This is a great way to get a sense of what sized institution your child should be considering.
Ultimately, you want to have as many visits done as possible before the start of senior year. College lists need to be finalized and applications executed in September. Visiting campuses in the fall can be very inspiring because the entire student body is back on campus and there’s a ton of excitement in the air. But the fall is also a busy time for seniors getting ready for their last round of standardized tests, filling out applications, and keeping up with their school work. Visiting another 1 or 2 schools in the fall of senior year is possible as long as you plan ahead.
#2 Test prep matters.
If your child is scheduled to take the May or June SAT or June ACT, they’re already very busy. If your child plans to take one of the tests later in the summer or in the fall, start the preparation in June or early July and continue to work on it throughout the summer.
If your child is not sure whether they will perform better on the ACTs or the SATs, use the early few weeks of the summer to take a full-length practice ACT and a full-length practice SAT. Your local test prep company usually offers these practice tests free of charge.
Once your child knows which test suits them best, have them focus on that test alone and stick with it. Even as some colleges remain test-optional for the 2022-23 school year, we encourage students to sit for at least one testing administration.
#3 Review the college essay questions and start brainstorming
Writing an awesome essay is more important and harder to do than most people think. No matter how big a university is, most top schools require a personal essay AND a supplemental essay for admission. These essays are even more critical now because most, if not all, schools are test-optional, which means that they have “lost” a metric of evaluation.
Essays give students a chance to reveal who they are, share their ambitions and/or experiences and offer the colleges a glimpse into their tremendous potential. Do not allow your child to underestimate or shortchange the college essay writing process!
This is just the beginning of a long process, but if you have not started, it’s time. Too often families get frustrated and want to know why they don’t have all the college options that they want, and why there is not more scholarship money available. Initiative and execution will change this.
These three items may seem simple, but they are at the foundations of having college admissions success.