Junior year has a lot going on. High school classes are winding down and many students start to consider college options. There are many things you can do to offer your child support and give them the best chances for success.
Break down the costs associated with college. Speak with financial aid options to determine how affordable higher education can be with the right plan.
Look into scholarships, grants, work-study programs and loans to help cover college costs. Exploring multiple financial aid prospects can help you feel more prepared.
Meeting with the school counselor is strongly recommended. Your 11th-grader can begin to engage in the process to apply to college and have a chance to discuss concerns or questions.
Goal-setting strategies are vital to success at school. Help your child make specific goals to keep them focused and motivated. Establish a reward system if possible, to help them be prepared. If they are going away for college, maybe they could earn new bedding or dishes or small appliances or grocery gift certificates for their dorm. If they are staying at home, maybe they can work towards repainting their room or earning funds for gas and car insurance, a new computer, a desk or additional school supplies.
Organization tactics such as daily, weekly monthly lists, calendars or apps on their phones or computers can help students stay on track. There are specific deadlines for college applications and paperwork for financial aid. Having everything set as an important reminder well in advance can encourage calm organization.
In October, help your junior prepare for the NMSQT/PSAT. This will help your student assess their academic skills and offer vital SAT practice. Getting your child familiar with exam timeframes, protocols and questions will help prepare them for success. An added bonus is that juniors who score high on this test will have opportunities for scholarships.
Have a chat with your junior about taking the SAT Subject Tests. Numerous colleges recommend or require these exams to determine your child’s skills in various academic areas. It is logical to schedule the Subject Test after the related course is finished.
It is common for juniors to write the SAT in the spring. Winter is a great time to prepare for the upcoming exam. Take advantage of cozy, dark days with implemented reading and subject practice. Taking the exam in the spring helps many students kickstart their college plan.
Go over your child’s results together from their NMSQT/PSAT. Evaluate their score report to determine which areas will need more preparation to ensure college success. The report will also detail any Advanced Placement classes that will be a great opportunity for them to explore.
Speak to your junior about taking advanced classes and AP Exams. Many kids take these tests in May. Winter is a great time to discuss your child’s options with their teachers and allow ample preparation time.
Talk about the importance and benefits of taking college-level classes or honors courses next year including senior Advanced Placement options. These classes are a wonderful way to help your child prepare for the course load of college and are beneficial by showcasing drive and determination to college admission officers.
Research scholarships and grant options with your child to secure different financial aid options. These types of aid are essentially considered to be “free money,” as they do not have to be repaid. Prepare early as many require essays or volunteer hours, etc. to qualify.
Research together for different college options that suit your child’s needs. After you have an idea of the various qualities that they are seeking, it will be easier to create a concise list of places to consider applying to.
Visit different college campuses with your child. Make a list of the places your child is interested in and plan some long-weekend getaways or overnight trips to take in the atmosphere and get a sense of the school community.
Make great summer plans with your child to help them expand their interests and capitalize on new skills. Colleges appreciate students who engage in meaningful activities over the summer. They want to see community-building skills, responsibility, punctuality, caring for others and more. Look for coaching opportunities, volunteer ideas, and giving back along with a challenging and rewarding summer job.
Attend different financial aid events and college fairs. These opportunities let you ask questions and meet a variety of college reps. Speak with your child’s school counselor to determine where and when these events will be held so that you can plan in advance.