Regardless of where your child applies to college, you can easily help them avoid the most common stumbling blocks to successful applications.

1. Waiting too long to visit and research colleges.

Many students avoid researching colleges for a whole host of reasons – busy schedules, forgetfulness, summer activities and distractions – until it is almost too late.  By the time students sit down to complete their applications and paste in final drafts of their essays, they should have a firm understanding of their target colleges.  The best time to start visiting and researching colleges is now.

At Colledge, we have our students visit at least one local college in 8th or 9th grade, just to get a sense of the campus.  In 10th grade our students focus in on 10-20 colleges to visit and/or research, and then in 11th grade they should narrow down their options to 10-12 schools. When students spend ample time researching and touring colleges early, they understand who they are in relation to the colleges and can submit materials to schools that are relevant and compelling.

2. Essay procrastination

Waiting too long to begin writing college essays can be a recipe for disaster; students find themselves in over their heads with writing demands that require more time and attention than they anticipated.  Let’s face it: essays that are composed and revised 2-3 times before being polished tend to be a lot better than those written the night they are due!  Did you know many application systems get clogged with too many applicants at 11:59 pm on the actual due date?  Don’t wait.  Get started as soon as possible!  Many schools post essay prompts that your child can begin working on early in the summer.

3. Not having a financial fit plan with the college list.

Having an open discussion with your child about the realities of your financial situation is vital.  Too many students get their hearts broken because their parents are not able to pay for the college of their dreams. There are now new, more accurate net price calculators available for students and parents that will more accurately project what families can expect to have to pay.  Check them out here at…

4. Focusing too much on testing and not enough on coursework and activities.

Believe it or not, once a student has taken the SAT or ACT two times, research shows that they are probably not going to increase their scores.  And in the end, admissions officers are typically more concerned with the student’s academic rigor and performance in the classroom than the test scores.  Test scores do matter, but not to the exclusion of the student’s academic work.  And the time spent on preparing for the SAT or ACT could be better spent deepening their extracurricular involvement, and even discovering their true passions.

5. Not getting the right college planning support.

Many parents don’t realize how challenging the process can be and think their child can handle college planning on their own.  A recent survey found that students who work with an independent college counselor are more likely to get into their “best fit” colleges.  At Colledge, we work with all kinds of students at different stages of the process.  From choosing the right high school courses and pre-college activities, to developing a tailored college list, to helping students craft compelling essays, we can make the difference for you.

Contact us to discuss how we work with students (and the next steps for your child).  Click HERE to set up a free consultation.