Note to High School Parents About the College Application Process: Start Early!
My daughter has always been a top-tier student. She has performed nothing less than exceptionally throughout the years in academics, music, art, performing arts, and standardized testing. She has been dedicated to the academic goals we set forth early on. I honestly have to give myself credit for influencing my daughter to strive for success at all times. As a result, she met her high school graduation requirements going into her senior year and I am very proud of that. Up until the college application process, there was no question in my mind that my daughter would graduate with a full ride scholarship with a full ride to her top university of choice in our state. But as we approached the application deadline to receive an “early decision”, I realized there was so much more I could have done to help my daughter prepare for this process.
In middle school, my daughter was on a great path. She was selected for an accelerated program. This program allowed her and a select group of students to take high school courses and receive credits 2 years earlier than normally scheduled. My daughter had the ability to handle a rigorous load of advanced courses and maintained straight A’s throughout the program. She constantly received very encouraging feedback from her teachers about her progress; they all recommended her for AP class starting her freshman year of high school.
We received several invitations to a variety of magnet programs from different schools from in our county. I was set on simply sending her to the school in our zone because it was A-rated and continued the accelerated program that allowed students to finish high school with an Associates degree. This school was in line with our strategy and goals that were set for my daughter. The bottom line was to earn a full-ride academic scholarship to college. My daughter had the ability to potentially earn an Associate degree without paying a dime for those classes.
During the decision-making process, my daughter expressed to me that she didn’t want to just be “smart”. She understood the importance of academics, but she wanted to explore other talents that may lead her to her success. My daughter had always been into the arts when I thought about it. She had a knack for the arts from playing the instruments, drawing characters in her sketchpad, choreographing dance routines and creating entertaining videos. I didn’t want to stunt her creativity so we accepted an invitation to tour a performing arts school being that they had two programs of interest.
As we toured the Performing Arts high school for the dance program, we passed the professional recording studio and classrooms filled with top of the line equipment. This peaked our interest immediately since I am a music lover and writer myself! Then after the Performing Arts Director told me there was also an opportunity for students in the program to get an automatic full ride to the University of Miami for being in the top 5%, I was sold! I figured it would be easier for my daughter to be at the top of her class in a school that wasn’t as academically as rigorous as the school in our zone.
By the end of my daughter’s freshman year, I learned that the performing arts school wasn’t as grand as they made it seem. Not because of the program, but their academics weren’t up to our normal standards. I knew this would happen, but I didn’t know how but it would be until my daughter wasn’t allowed to take the AP classes she was recommended for. Apparently, there weren’t enough students to qualify for AP so she had to settle for an honors classes, which most likely included students that probably should have been intermediate classes. This set up didn’t allow the teachers to instruct classes at a higher level in my opinion.
My daughter’s tenth grade year when test prep began is when I should have really noticed that we were at risk. Her PSAT tests scores were not as high as I thought they would be. I called the counselors for my school and they told me it was normal. I asked if my daughter should attend the SAT prep courses I heard that was offered on Saturdays, but she said it was for lower level students. The counselor reassured me that I wouldn’t have to worry about Isis because she was a good student. And like a dummy, I took her word for it knowing that this school had already disappointed me in so many ways.
By the end of my daughter’s junior year, she finally narrowed down her top four universities so I checked the score requirements for each school. Her scores were above average, but they were way lower than the requirements to be considered for entry. She already taken both the SAT and ACT tests twice and still hadn’t hit necessary scores. We knew we needed a tutor, but it wasn’t until after senior year started that college applications were due as early as November 1st! This is when we began to scramble.
I started to call all of her schools right away and asked them questions about the application process. I learned that:
- most schools were were applying to said that the GPA requirements was important as the ACT and SAT scores and vice versa.
- most schools will also allow you to keep submitting your ACT and SAT scores up until the end of December. You have a chance to increase the likely hood of early acceptance if you didn’t do as well on your previous ACT and SAT attempts.
- Some schools super score! Google it if you don’t know what this means.
- the essays are optional, however, it is best that you actually submit one. You can also ask the school if they have a preference as to which topic you submit your essay on. Some schools don’t have a preference, but if you call the school they will tell you exactly what they are looking for.
In order to prepare my daughter for better scores in time for the college application deadline, I hired a tutor next. We only had one week until her next scheduled ACT test and two weeks for the SAT test. I spent $60/hour for a total of 24 hours two weeks leading up to these tests because this was our last opportunity to be able to get a higher score submitted before the applications were due to her top four universities.
Please take the following advice I am about to give you about the college application process. I may not have all the answers, but I want you to be warned how important it is to prepare you high school aged children with the college application process EARLY. When you are prepared, you don’t have to panic at the last minute like me and my daughter did.
Top Ten Things You Can Do to Prepare Your Child for the College Application Process:
- Devise a plan that includes strategic goals that can position your child for success on their journey to college preparation. Start this process as early as middle school.
- Realize that your child’s success may depend on the academic level of achievement at the schools he or she attends. Choose your school wisely if you have the option. Based on the level, you may need to start college test prep as early as Freshman year.
- Tour colleges as early as freshman year. I’ve heard that when many prospective students experience the campus tour, it inspires them to work harder to meet the requirements for acceptance into their university of choice.
- By junior year, your child should have a list of the top three to five colleges he or she wants to apply to prior to.
- Be sure to have your child apply to more than one school. Your child will need to have back up options in case you don’t get into the school of choice. College acceptance letters go out around the same time. Your child should be prepared to know that everyone will be talking about which colleges they got accepted into. If your child doesn’t want to feel left out, please prepare for this process!
- Know the requirements for the application process for each college of interest. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Application Deadlines
- GPA Requirements
- Academic Requirements
- Community Service Requirements
- ACT and/or PSAT score Requirements
- Essay Requirements
- Recommendation Requirements
- Scholarships and Honors Programs
- Use preliminary test results and your child’s scores as an indicator on how much tutoring your child may need to meet requirements for the college application process for the school(s) of his or her choice. You need to consider how early you might need to start based on those scores. And order the SAT package that gives you the answers.
- Don’t wait until senior to start preparing. This is one of the worst thing you can do for your child, especially if they have their heart set on attending a major university.
- Make sure you are helping your children with the college application process every step of the way. This is not an easy process and can be very stressful if you don’t prepare on-time.
- Know the difference between ACT/SAT tests. Tutoring will help with testing strategies for both.
- Prepare your children to be in a position to receive scholarships, especially if you know you don’t have the means to start a college fund.
I hope that these tips have been helpful. If anyone has any experience with the college application process, please feel free to add helpful comments below.
Romans 2:1-16 NLT
“You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will judge everyone according to what they have done. More
The next time you are feeling a little insecure, jealous or less than in comparison to someone else, compliment the person! I am certain that it will feel so much better to say something positive than to display negativity towards them.
Don’t be discouraged when starting something new…no one starts off at the top! The only time you fail, is when you don’t try at all. Anything you thought was a failure is really just a learning experience. Stay encourage and motivated no matter what!
God is teaching me some very important lessons in life right now. Learning to tune into HIM more and tune everyone else out!
Proverbs 4:23-26 New Living Translation (NLT)
23 Guard your heart above all else,
for it determines the course of your life.
24 Avoid all perverse talk;
stay away from corrupt speech.
25 Look straight ahead,
and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
stay on the safe path.
I have a burning desire to succeed! Even though I am already successful in my own right, my instincts tell me so much more opportunity is coming my way…and real soon! Thank God for continuing to bless me daily. I am not sure where I will end up, but I am exactly who God made me to be today.
The wolf on the right represents me! I know when it’s the right time for ME to stand alone, stand apart & stand together.
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
— Maya Angelou (@DrMayaAngelou) May 23, 2014
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou
Still I Rise
Positive quotes for those facing adversity
When I face adversity, I seek God, His word and positive quotes! When trouble arises, remember to seek God for guidance, trust in Him only for your worries, stay as positive as possible, keep your head up and focus on bettering yourself.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT) Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
I swear Joel Osteen writes his emails for me. I just wanted to share because I’m not the only one who needs encouragement.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
(Romans 5:3–4, NLT)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
The way you handle adversities has a huge impact on your success in life? If you shrink back, choose to get bitter and lose your enthusiasm, then you are allowing the difficulties of life to bury you. You are allowing hardship to keep you from your God-given destiny. But if you choose to keep pressing forward with a smile on your face, rejoicing even in the hard times, you are allowing God’s character to be developed inside of you. You are setting yourself up for promotion.
Think about this: the only difference between a piece of black coal and a priceless diamond is the amount of pressure that it’s endured. When you stand strong in the midst of the trials and difficulties in life, when you allow God to shape and mold your character, it’s like going from a piece of coal to a priceless diamond. Those difficulties are going to give way to new growth, new potential, new talent, new friendships, new opportunities, new vision. You’re going to see your life blossom in ways that you’ve never even dreamed!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father in heaven, thank You for giving me strength to overcome every obstacle in life. I choose to rejoice no matter what may come against me. I know You are working all things together for my good in Jesus’ name! Amen.
— Joel & Victoria Osteen
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30 day fitness challenges…here I come!!
I am really embarrassed to admit that I ended up taking four months off from working out after going H.A.M. in the gym for four months straight and no more than 1-2 days off per week. The GREAT news is I’m flawless and “I WOKE UP LIKE THIS” anyway! Okay no…just kidding…well no not really because I have great genes (LOL). But the great news is really that I am getting back on my health and fitness game! 🙂 More
I can’t even front on my mom’s body or her exercise tips. She looks great at the age of 55! Not only does she look great at her age, her body is better than most 20 something year old chicks that I know. All I know is I need to stay consistent on my exercise, health and fitness game so I can look like her when I am her age.
My mom didn’t just get into heath and fitness; she has been into for as long as I can remember.
Please be sure to FOLLOW her board on Pinterest. She does everything she posts to her board and it shows! She is just getting started sharing her tips online, but trust me she is no beginner because her body is the TRUTH so you might want to take her advice in 2014, like I will be! My mom is my inspiration. 🙂
Here are 50 Daily Success and Money Affirmations that I say in the morning. You can say these too (or write your own version) and put it somewhere you will see it first thing in the morning. Be sure to say these affirmations out loud while visualizing and feeling what you are affirming in that moment. Saying these affirmations in that manner may seem a little weird at first, but after a month of doing this consistently it will become a habit. I’ve attracted and experience so much positivity and success when I am consistent with this routine. I often say these daily success and money affirmations prior, during or after a prayer. More
Now that I am somewhat settled in to my new job, I can get back to doing other things that I personal enjoy doing with my life such as motivating others, staying fit and achieving my entrepreneurial goals. With that said… More
When you are able to maintain your own highest standards of integrity – regardless of what others may do – you are destined for greatness.
Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.
I saw this post about Faith and Destiny on Instagram so I had to repost this for encouragement and inspiration. Stay positive even you believe something did not work out in your favor. God will give you what you need, not necessarily what you want. And it will happen when it’s supposed to!
Here is a picture my cousin took of me today when I was about to start my workout on the elliptical at the gym today. I can’t believe my thighs look toned! Working out pays off!