The senior year of high school: time to jump-start the college application process

senior year of high schoolThe advent of fall brings forth a season of change. Leaves are turning brilliant colors, an array of scents permeate the air and football rules on weekends. Yet for parents of high school seniors, like me, the season of change could evoke a sense of panic. Indeed, fall is the time to attack college applications and entrance essays, I knew this–but where do I start?

Obviously a student needs to have an idea of where they would like to attend college. To make life easier and less expensive for my wife and me, we allowed our son three university choices. We then asked him to rate the three from 1-3, one being his first choice etc. After this it was up to him to procure applications from the guidance counselor or on-line. With the prelims out of the way he proceeded to fill out each application with a constant reminder from dad to make sure his answers are clear and also carefully written to avoid any spelling/grammar errors.

I then proofread the application again, looking for any lines that were not filled out and making sure all his high school scores were recorded accurately. One of the applications requested an essay in ink as to what “he could offer [the university]?” After 2 rewrites he presented it to me for another proof. After perusing his paper I advised him to rewrite it yet again and to keep in mind “who his audience was.” It seemed to me the initial approach had been one of writing this carefree, friendly letter to a buddy rather then the Dean of Admissions at a prestigious university.

After each of the applications were completed and proofed, I advised him to get his transcripts sent to the appropriate institutions per the Guidance Center. He did make the appointment to see the director, who then went over his transcripts, ACT scores, SAT scores, rank in class, and GPA with him prior to sending out this information to the colleges. This was important to me because if the college was to lose the scores etc., I know the counselor has all pertinent information on file and can resend it via email so as not to delay the acceptance process further.

No matter how much my son wanted to procrastinate it was very important to begin the application process early. I told him it was not like registering for high school classes. University officials may pick and choose those who will enter and if his application was late, he might find himself applying to his fourth, fifth, or sixth choice. The message got through, because he has now been accepted to all three of his choices and one came with money attached.

I’ve learned something too. There was no need to feel panic or a sense of overwhelming dread with this process, as long as I started early.


Applications and Admissions