Busy High School Juniors and Seniors can get tied up in the fun spring activities—prom planning, graduation pictures, sports—and procrastinate on a few very important items that they should do sooner rather than later, if they’re planning to attend college after graduation.
To help guide them on the right path, here’s just a few quick points to touch on with your college-bound student(s):
- Visit a College Campus (or Several)
Picking a college is a big step. One way to help determine if a school is right for you is to visit—virtually or in-person. Online tours are great if expense or distance is an issue, but keep in mind that video tours are edited to show the campus at its best. If visiting in-person, it’s often recommended to do so during the school year to get an accurate idea of what the campus would be like as a student.
Related resource: What Should I Look for on a Campus Visit?
- Put Thought Into Your College Major
With the rising cost of college, it’s not very cost-effective to go in without a focused area of study. And, with a future career-path in mind, students can look into whether or not a college offers the desired course of study. While transferring to another college later is always an option, it’s important to note that not all courses transfer and such an option could delay completion of a degree and increase costs.
Related resource: How Do I Choose a Major?
Apply to College(s) of Choice
While application deadlines vary quite a bit, most seem to expect completed applications for new students in before February. If students have a specific school, or even a short list of schools, in mind, they need to consider any upcoming deadlines. (Coming in late isn’t a good way to get your college career off on the right foot.) Even if a school’s deadline is later than most, applying early may create a buffer to apply at an alternative school if a first choice doesn’t work out.
Related resource: How Do I Pick the Right College?
- Look into Financial Aid
The cost of college is often a hurdle for the families of college-bound students. The financial burden of not only tuition, but textbooks, housing, and a variety of other expenses can add up quickly and all need to be accounted for. If you or a member of your family plans to attend college in the near future, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—or FAFSA℠ for short—will be an indispensable part of your application for financial aid.
Related Resources: How Do I Get Financial Aid?, Completing the FAFA Training
- Reflect on Self-Management Skills
When heading to college, many students struggle to balance classes, study time, group work, and tests, as well as fit in the social aspect of college life. One of the biggest transitions between high school and college is going from a teacher-supported model and required attendance to student-directed. At college, students will have a higher level of responsibility than ever before, and it’s important to help them understand what may be expected of them in college, as well as discuss important skills that they can start working on now.
Related resource: Transitioning from High School to College
- Test Independence
No, we don’t mean rebel and give parents a hard time! Rather, students should practice keeping track of homework and extracurricular schedules, keeping a budget, managing their own curfew and waking times, or even taking on some household responsibilities like making a healthy dinner or grocery shopping. While it may not be appropriate for all students, it can be helpful college prep. In college, students need to be able to manage such activities on their own, so taking the time to practice in the safety of their own home can prepare them for challenges they might otherwise face on their own.
Related resource: Successful Time Management
Looking for more ideas to ensure students success in college? Atomic Learning offers a variety of courses focused on building critical self-management and soft skills for college- and career-readiness.
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