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College Talk Blog

Don't let your rising senior hurt his college admission chances

Two temptations for rising seniors include taking a holiday from learning and taking a light academic load during senior year. Both of these temptations should be avoided. 

Students should stay in practice reading and writing in the summer to avoid losing skills prior to the next school year. It matters less what they read and write than that they do it regularly to retain their skill level. 

The academic load during senior year is the other error students sometimes make. They reason that colleges will make decisions on junior year grades and performance. But colleges can check grades and enrollment level during senior year and what the student is doing should match what they reported on college applications or they have hurt their own admission chances. College admission officers have reported that students who take a light load of less challenging courses as seniors are not as ready for their freshman year of college as others who continued to challenge themselves academically. Word to the wise: senior year of high school is not a victory lap.

Caviar College Dreams on a Shoestring Budget

Parents who would not go to a Tesla dealer and say they want a Tesla for free think nothing of saying something similar when it comes to colleges. The bottom line about colleges is that nothing is free. Whenever you hear about a student who got a "Free Ride" to a college, there was a huge payment beforehand. That student and family had huge sweat equity and likely significant costs getting the student to the point that they could earn a "free ride" to college later.

The next time you hear about a free ride, realize it came after 12 or more years of hard work by the student and at least as many years work on the part of the parent mentoring the student and paying for enrichment experiences through their own sweat equity and time.

Is middle school too early to think about college?

It is never too early to begin to think about what your child will do after high school. No matter what plan you develop from apprenticeships to college, education will be the key to success. 

The young student in your family needs skills to be successful in school and in life. Those skills include the ability to critically read and evaluate information, quantify their work and resources, think broadly, focus specifically, understand their history and culture, interact successfully, act on their values and have an awareness of how they are uniquely equipped for their mission in life.

Mentoring Helps Students Succeed

If choosing between hundreds of majors and over 5,000 colleges is intimidating to adults, imagine what it feels like to teens who are often asked what they want to study and where they want to go to college.

Getting in to college is a complicated, time-consuming and stressful process. Students with adult support can make better decisions under less stress and complete the process more efficiently.

The biggest mistake made by both students and parents in this process is trying to do what they hear others are doing. While listening to other parents and students can yield helpful information, parents and students often express anxiety if they are not doing what they perceive others to be doing. However, following the herd is not the best recipe for everyone. The best approach is to consider the gifts of the student, the budget for college and the choices that make the most sense for the student and the family. This approach requires teamwork between the parent, student and advisors and yields a much better fit for the student with much less stress.

Fall 2019 admission windows closing soon & some Fall 2020 deadlines are changing

There are dozens of four-year colleges still accepting admission applications for fall 2019 to include Coastal Carolina, UNC-Charlotte, Millsaps College, Northern Kentucky University, University of West Florida, Montana State, Albany State, Liberty University and University of Texas-Dallas. Some of these deadlines close soon and others are as late as July 1.

Some colleges are beginning to announce admission deadlines and options. Virginia Tech will continue to offer the early action opportunity they rolled out last year. This year, University of Virginia is adding an early decision option and the deadline will be October 15.