Caroline is a 17-year-old Junior in high school who enjoys being on her school's debate team, rock climbing and playing the guitar. Her favorite subject is Biology and she would like to incorporate it in her future career.
A recent article posted on the Huffington Post revealed that admissions rates from the nation’s top colleges have dropped to single digit and early teen percentages for the class of 2015. The reason for this is not necessarily because the schools are becoming more selective, but because they’re all receiving a surplus of applications. Teens are becoming more and more competitive and thanks to affirmative action, scholarships and other forms of financial aid, more of them have advantages and opportunities to attend the colleges of their choice.
As a teen, the pressure is continually mounting to outscore the competition. One of the best advantages a teen can have in this competitive atmosphere is preparing early. Once a teen has reached high school, it is never too early to take the SAT. Even if it’s just to get a feel for what the test will be like. Many high schools offer specialized SAT preparation classes for students who would like more practice with the test. If you take it in 9th grade, you can sign up for one of these classes in 10th grade to improve your score the next time you take it. Taking the test early means you will have time to plan ahead. If you don’t get the score you’re aiming for by the fourth or fifth try, you always have the option of hiring a tutor.
In my opinion, Kaplan is one of the best tutoring centers for helping your child with the SAT, ACT, PSAT and more. The organization promises higher test scores or your money back. The students I’ve known who have used Kaplan have scored in the 1500 region for the SAT. That being said, Kaplan can be a little pricey, so parents would want to make sure all of your other options have failed to bring the desired results before making the commitment.
Parents can also prepare their children for college by introducing them to the colleges themselves through college tours. Plan a family vacation to New England and go on tours of all the great colleges. Even if you’re not exactly shooting for Harvard or MIT, it would still be a fun experience to see these colleges and learn about how they do things. Even on other types of trips, make a note of visiting colleges along the way. This is just so your teen can get a feel for what college is all about and understand all of the many options available.
It’s also never too early to begin a college application. When teens start filling out their applications in the middle of Senior year, it’s too late to try to fill out all of the blank spaces on they wish they could fill. Teens should print out several applications from schools they are interested in by their 10th grade year. Go ahead and fill them out and see which areas you are lacking in. Teens should share these filled applications with their parents so they can work together to make it as impressive as possible. For example, if you don’t have as many community service experiences, sign up for a summer program at the local hospital or determine what would be most fulfilling to you. You can help out in the Special Olympics or go on a mission trip with your church helping people in other countries. Parents can sign their teen up for these enriching volunteer experiences that allow them to become a well-rounded individual while improving their application.
Remember that the college application is something that is supposed to measure who you are as a person. Teens may know they’re smart, sociable, charitable and hard-working, but they need to apply these traits and talents to both prove and improve themselves. College applications don’t have to be intimidating. If you follow the instructions above, you will feel prepared and proud while sending out your final college applications.
[College Week] Thinking Smart to Get into College
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