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September College Prep Checklist for Parents

You should be thinking about college...

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 21, 2019

September College Prep Checklist for Parents
Summer is over and a new semester has arrived. So, you're probably wondering: What should my student be doing to prepare for college? Here are some suggestions of what you can do to help your high school student prepare for college this September:

1. Start the college search or the college admissions process.

There’s so much to do! But we know they can handle it (with your support, of course).
Help your student begin by creating a list of what they’re looking for in a college and making a colleges list. Then, compare the two, crossing off any colleges that don’t meet their criteria. Order the colleges list based on which schools meet the most criteria at the top to the colleges that meet the lowest amount of their criteria at the bottom.

2. Register to take or re-take the SAT/ACT exams.

If your student is a high school senior, this needs to be done ASAP! Also, remember to prepare for the exams as early as possible. He or she can sign up for test prep courses, get a tutor or even practice questions online for free!

3. Schedule as many college visits as possible.

Campuses are so beautiful in the fall, especially Fastweb’s top ten fall campuses and it's always beneficial visit campuses when students are active and present on campus. That means there's no time like the present to plan to see potential colleges, since everyone will soon be returning to campus for a new semester. Make a list of colleges your student would like to visit and try to schedule them throughout the next few months. Visiting schools will make narrowing down your student’s colleges list much easier and can be vital to the admissions process. Remember, seeing and experiencing a school is vastly different than researching it online!

4. Encourage your student to start out - and stay in - great academic shape.

As your student works on the college search and, finally, college applications, you’ll want to make sure they are putting their best foot forward – academically speaking. Help him/her create a strategy on how to approach this semester and ensure he or she follows it. A strict semester game plan helps ensure students stay focused on achieving their best. As you know, your high school grades matter and a slip up is really difficult to recover from, especially in terms of cumulative grade point average. It's not impossible to recover from a slump, but why add on the extra anxiety? If students stay on top of their grades, they won't have even more pressure than they already do!

5. Start evaluating how you’ll pay for school.

If your student starts applying for scholarships now, it will be a lot easier to pay for school later! Begin by organizing the scholarship search, then apply for as many scholarships as possible. Talk as a family about your college budget so that everyone is on the same page and you can have specific financial aid goals in mind. You do want to be realistic regarding your student’s college choices and tuition prices, however, if your student has his or her heart set on a specific school, her or she will simply have to work a little harder to achieve the funding. Remind them not to worry: any amount is possible to achieve with hard work and determination!

6. Start gathering and preparing application materials.

It’s helpful to have any documents students may need on hand for college applications, like ACT/SAT scores, any personal information and any payment information if students are not applying via the Common Application. That way, he or she won’t have to find items for each application – everything will be in one place.

7. Begin college essays.

If your student already knows which schools they’re applying to, they are able to check out their essays prompts online and start brainstorming topics they’d like to write your essay on. Tip: when writing essays, it’s helpful to begin with an outline of what you’d like to say and go from there.

8. Consider if early admissions options are right for your student.

If your student already knows which college he or she wants to attend, they may want to consider an early admissions option. It’s not right for everyone, but it may be worth considering if he or she already has a specific school in mind. You can learn more about early admissions and what this entails to decide if it’s the right route through Fastweb’s early admissions articles.

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