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It's Freshman Year: Check In About These College Admissions Tasks

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It's Freshman Year: Check In About These College Admissions Tasks

It’s time for a mid-year checkup. Half of the school year has passed and with a new start in January, students should evaluate their progress. Freshman year begins the process that eventually culminates in admission to college for most students. Knowing this, it’s crucial for your freshman to complete these tasks before the end of the school year.

Before the year ends, take a close look at each of these tasks. How is your student doing? Is it time for a conversation? Does your student need a little motivation?

1. Get involved in a school activity.

Your student has been getting the feel for high school and forging new relationships, but it’s time to start getting involved. They should choose an activity that interest them and one that they would like to participate in throughout high schoo. Consistency is key. It might be a sport, or a musical interest, or the debate team, or student government. Whatever they choose, they should try to stay involved for the remaining years of high school.

2. Choose an inspiring community service project.

Flip-flopping from one project to another does not leave a positive impression on a high school resume. Again, colleges look for consistency. A few hours here and there will not demonstrate a commitment to serve the community. Your student can participate in an already established community service project or create one. But students should spend the remaining months of freshman year searching for that one project that inspires them.

3. Evaluate study habits and grades for the year.

How is your student doing academically? Is she using good study habits? Is he struggling in a subject? If you are happy with her progress, encourage your student to stay the course. If your student needs improvement, consider tutoring or encourage study groups. Sit down and discuss a good study schedule and determine what time is best for homework each night. The freshman year sets the tone for the high school GPA.

4. Plan for next year’s courses.

Students will soon be registering for next year’s classes. Students should be sure that sophomore year classes are ones viewed favorably by colleges. Your student should consider AP or Honors classes up to the task. Make sure the course schedule demonstrates your student’s ability to handle college-level courses in the future. Advanced classes should certainly be a part of this plan. If dual-credit courses (courses that receive college credit) are offered, ask your student to consider them.

It is probably a good time for parents and students to meet the high school counselorl. Share any concerns you might have and express your interest to help in any way necessary. This will also serve to add to the student/counselor relationship and when recommendation letters need to be written, the counselor will be well-acquainted with your student.

5. Make some preliminary college visits.

It’s never too early to visit colleges. These visits don’t have to be far from home or even to a college that’s a potential contender. Your student will get a feel for the campus environment, talk to some students, and explore. There’s no better way to start a list of likes and dislikes than to visit several campuses early in the college search.

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Written by Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and students, as well as providing parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze.

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