Helping your child through the college application process is hard. You have to tiptoe between being too hands off or hovering like a helicopter parent. As a parent, it’s your role to offer support, act as a sounding board, and know a little bit (or a lot) about the process. At this point, you are well-versed at providing encouragement and a listening ear, but even if you’ve been through the college process yourself, you’ll find yourself in foreign territory these days. College admissions has changed quite a bit – even in the last two years. Fortunately, you can reacquaint yourself with the process, beginning with your child’s junior year in high school.November – Have your child meet with their guidance counselor to discuss their transcript, college list, and standardized testing plan. December – Volunteer throughout the holidays as a family. Your college-bound student can put it on their Brag Sheet. January – Tell your child to update their Fastweb profile with GPA or club/organization changes from last semester. It’s also time to schedule spring SAT or ACT test dates.February – Talk with your teen about their senior year schedule. Now is the time to consider which classes will challenge them and look good on their college applications. March – Give your child the goal of finding teachers, coaches, and mentors to write letters of recommendation before the month’s end. It’s also time to schedule spring and summer college visits! April – Nail down summer plans. Here are a few options: a part-time job, summer camp, or volunteering. Summer experiences will look great on their college applications and give them some real-world experience to reference in essays or admissions interviews. May – Start finalizing the college list. A helpful strategy is to narrow down schools into three categories: reach, target, and safety schools. June & July – Continue applying to colleges, check out virtual campus tours, and start organizing the college search by drafting college essays and asking for letters of recommendation. The latter is especially necessary if your child plans to apply for Early Decision or Early Admission deadlines.