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College Talk Blog

Early preparation for college

Confidence + Assertiveness = College Success

I talk with students who often fear they don't have what it takes to do well in college. They are also often reticent to ask for what they need to be successful. The
culprit behind this academically deadly situation is a lack of confidence and assertiveness.

The first step to gaining confidence is to get control of high school success and develop a plan for college success. That plan has to include developing the confidence that the student can succeed with the appropriate help and the courage to ask for any help that is needed.

The importance of early prep for college admission

Aside from the importance of doing well academically, building an impressive extracurricular resume and performing well on the SAT or ACT, there is a huge amount of work students must complete in order to gain college admission. Unfortunately, students are only aware of a small percentage of the work they will need to do. Parents are also unaware.

Most families tell me that their vision of what they need to do to get a student into college is complete college applications and financial aid forms. With that vision of the process, students often put off completing their college applications because they believe that they will only need a small amount of time to complete a few forms.

Rising Senior Summer Tasks

Think rising seniors have the summer to relax and the fall to worry about college applications? Think again. Right this very minute they should be WRITING! The summer before senior year is the prime time to write college essays. Having essays written in advance of actually completing college applications will save time and greatly increase the quality of the essays submitted later to college admissions officers.

Other tasks critical at this time of year for rising seniors are:
  • researching college majors

Does your rising 8th grader get the concept of GPA?

Grades matter. Students think of grades that matter as the grades they will earn in their junior and senior year. But in reality all grades matter starting with some courses that count as college entrance requirements (foreign language for example) in the 8th grade. 

I love to talk to 8th graders about what they will need to get into colleges they think are awesome. Explaining that their 8th grade class achievement will affect their chances to get into colleges they would like to consider has a powerful effect.

Digging scholarships out of e-trash

Rising juniors and seniors brace yourselves. If it has not already started, you are about to experience what I like to call Inboxmageddon. Inboxmageddon is the email phenomenon that occurs when high school students begin to receive an avalanche of emails from colleges and universities hoping to get their attention.

Most students take the electronic snow shovel approach to the mass of emails from colleges that litter their inbox. The delete button. They think logically: "These emails are just advertisements, right?