It’s never too early to start thinking about college. Planning ahead increases the chances of getting into the right school, gives you more options, and helps reduce the stress of planning for and applying to universities. At Westminster, we urge parents and students to start preparing for college as early as possible.
To help with early college planning, we’ve compiled a list of a few important considerations for parents and students to be mindful of.
The Importance of Helping Students Prepare for College Early
Preparing for college can be a stressful experience because there’s a seemingly endless list of things that can help or hurt your child’s chances of getting accepted. However, students who start prepping for college early can ease into this process and avoid some of the stress.
Getting involved without taking over the process is one of the best ways you can help your child get ready for college. If you have a child in grades 8-12, now is a good time to begin conversations about college to get them thinking about their interests and talents.
Consider talking to them about developing a list of ideal universities, their favorite subjects in school, and extracurricular activities they could pursue to bolster their application. Afterwards, set a list of realistic goals to help them start slowly building their application and qualifications.
Stay Informed About College Admissions
The admission process changes all the time. Starting to plan for college early gives you more time to learn about the process and what’s expected. This includes things like researching what colleges are looking for, different application options, and test-optional colleges. Regardless of the school they choose, students can help bolster their application by following these tips:
- Taking advanced placement classes in high school
- Participating in (and sticking with) extracurricular activities
- Developing personal essays and statements
Taking Advanced Placement Classes in High School
Admissions counselors are looking for rigor, discipline, and an ability to think independently. It’s important to build your application around this. By opting for more intensive college prep classes, especially in core classes, you are showing an ability to handle college-level work. Notably, while advanced placement electives look nice as well, they are not always weighted as heavily as advanced placement core classes such as math, science, and English.
Participating in Extracurricular Activities
Many parents and students think admissions counselors place greater weight on an application based on the number of extracurricular activities included. However, the truth is that an abundance of short-lived extracurricular activities signals an inability to balance multiple commitments.
Instead, sticking to three or four extracurricular activities, and showing growth and development in these areas over a longer period of time, looks valuable to colleges—even personal achievements like learning an instrument or starting a blog can greatly bolster your application.
Developing Personal Essays and Statements
Chances are if your child is applying to college they’re going to be asked to write one of three different types of personal essays designed to give the admissions counselor a closer look at their character and personality.
While it may seem early to think about writing an essay, having a conversation about defining moments in their life, times they have overcome adversity, or times they have acted selflessly can help inspire topic ideas which can convince admissions counselors to give their application more attention than other candidates.
Preparing Students for a Life of Significance
At Westminster, we work hard to equip our students to lead a life of significance. As part of that, we offer and encourage them to participate in clubs, activities, and a challenging curriculum designed to help them stand out amongst their peers.
Our students have received acceptance and scholarship offers from the following schools:
Louisiana State University, Princeton University, Rice University, Texas A & M University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and University of Texas at Dallas, to name just a few.
Learn more about the value Westminster can provide for your child by visiting our website.