There will come a day when you will watch your child as he anxiously waits for the mail, stalking the mailman each day until that life changing letter arrives. When it finally arrives, you watch as he nervously but excitedly rips it open. Getting an acceptance letter from your dream college is a huge deal. Congratulations are in order, hugs go all around, maybe even some tears are involved.
While it is widely known that colleges look at grades and ACT scores, there also many other criteria that colleges look at when deciding if they will accept your child not. In order to give your child the best possible chance of getting into the college he dreams about, here are some tips on what he should be doing.
- Take academically challenging classes. From the time high school begins until senior year, your child should take as many challenging courses as he can handle. AP courses and honors classes are great for preparing him for college and will also look quite nice on his transcript.
- Focus on extracurricular activities. Grades are important but so are outside activities. Participate in sports, school activities, and volunteer time outside of the school.
- Practice for the ACT or SAT. These tests are essential for getting into the college of your choice. Make sure your child does the best he can by helping him prepare. Start reviewing general facts and take practice tests online. Hiring a test prep tutor can also greatly increase his chances of doing well.
- Ask teachers for recommendations. If your child is particularly close with a teacher or counselor, have him ask for a personal recommendation. At least one month before the deadline, have your child prepare a data sheet or a brag sheet that highlights his academic accomplishments and other activities. Then approach the teacher or counselor and ask for a written recommendation to go along with the college application. Provide the list of accomplishments to help jog the teacher's memory.
- Develop the college essay. Admissions essay can make or break your acceptance. Make sure your child spends enough time developing the essay before writing it. Reflect and think before even starting the writing process; then write, edit and then rewrite. The essay is where you can really sell yourself so it pays to get it right.
- Be organized. There is a lot involved in applying for college, so staying focused and organized can really help make sure everything gets done. Your child should create a file folder for each college he applies to. Include information about the school, copies of his application and essay, copies of any recommendation letters and any other information that is relevant to his acceptance.
Need more help? Contact Chicago Academic at 773-466-0101 and we will help your child acheive a great ACT score or craft some unique essays that stand out amongst other applicants.