Ah summer, exams are over, SAT/ACT tests are done (for now) and hopefully your high schooler has caught up on sleep, had some down time and is working at a job, taking a class or engaged in a summer program. (Read more here if you need ideas).
For rising Seniors, this is a critical summer. The college application process is complex and time consuming. As much I as encourage some rest and relaxation, if this is the summer after your junior year, there’s a lot of work to do. The college application process can be more complicated than buying a house, so kids really need parents to be engaged and support them.
Here are some general guidelines for the application process:
- The common app essay prompts have been available since February. Now is the time to start drafting your essays.
- Many schools have fall deadlines for applications, but some schools offer rolling admissions and begin accepting applications as early as July.
- The common app opens August 1.
- SAT/ACT test dates pick up again at the end of August. If you want to retake either test, now is a good time to prep and seek out a tutor or workshop.
- August is also a good time to consider taking a SAT subject test, especially if you’re taking a class this summer.
- FAFSA applications open October 1.
- Many merit aid scholarships or financial aid offered by institutions also have deadlines in October.
- The “sticker price” of tuition is not the actual cost of tuition. The net price calculator can give you a better idea of actual cost.
- Early Decision/Action deadlines are typically November 1/15, but some schools have deadlines in October
Please remember: your kids WILL get frustrated and overwhelmed, they WILL get stressed and they WILL most likely take it out on you. I like to tell families to pick one day of the week to talk colleges. Let your child use their school college counselor or private college counselor (like me) to help manage this process. I know this is hard, but let your kids come to you and encourage them to lean on other adults, friends or older siblings for help.