For the parents of high school students, the college admissions process can be daunting. But with a few tips and strategies, parents can help their student navigate the process and increase the chances of success. Here’s a guide to help you get started based on “A Parent’s Guide to College Admissions” at CollegeVine.com.
Admissions process starts before senior year
The admissions process starts before senior year, with 50-60% of the outcome determined based on grades, course selection, and extracurriculars from 9th-11th grade. This means that it’s important to build a strong admissions profile from the start, and in 12th grade focus on improving essays and applications.
The admissions profile is based on a few key elements: transcript, standardized test scores, extracurricular resume, and relationships with teachers. To boost their profile, students should take challenging courses, strive for good grades, and reach out to teachers for a recommendation letter. It’s also important to have extracurricular activities that align with the student’s intended major.
For most students, the application process starts with the ApplyTexas application, which is used by Texas public colleges and universities. Students should also consider the Common App, which is accepted by over 900 colleges (out-of-state and private).
In addition to the application, students should also spend time on their essays, which are an important part of the admissions process. CollegeVine.com offers great support, including livestreams and past prompts. Finally, don’t forget about financial aid and scholarship applications, like the FAFSA, which opens on October 1.
Essays can take anywhere from 20-40 hours to write, depending on the school. Other activities like applications, coordinating with third parties, and parent financial aid forms can add up to 10-15 hours. To reduce stress, it’s best to spread out the work over the course of several weeks, rather than cramming it all into one week.
Key elements in the process
Academics are the most important factor, accounting for 80%, 50%, and 30% of the admissions process for non-selective, selective, and very selective colleges, respectively. Extracurriculars and essays become increasingly important in more selective schools, accounting for 15-25% of the admissions process. Finally, luck, personal assessments, finances, and college strategy make up the remaining 20%.
We hope this guide has helped to demystify the college admissions process and set you on the path to success. Remember, your student should take the lead, but you can still provide important support. Good luck!
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