Welcome, parents of high school students! Let’s have an important discussion about planning your teenager’s college admission. First, we all agree that every doting guardian wants their child to have the best possible chance at a secure and fulfilling future, in college and beyond. Right? That’s understandable and fair. After all, with steady planning, an expert mentor or guidance counselor can make a difference in shaping your student’s trajectory of upward growth. From there, finding the right colleges to apply to and organizing your application materials can help lead students to satisfactory outcomes in college acceptances, internship opportunities, careers, and more.
Perhaps your teen is succeeding in a few school subjects or shining in extracurricular activities. With their unique character and work ethic, surely such a student would be accepted into any top university! It’s easy to get swept up in the prestige of famous college names or be charmed by an Ivy League daydream. Nevertheless, unfortunately, the dream of an Ivy League education is far from reach for most…
If you want to prepare your child for admission to top colleges in the United States, you should be aware that the process of achieving this goal is highly demanding. The competition among candidates is incredibly fierce, and only the most exceptional students are accepted. However, this should not discourage you from pursuing this goal. In fact, with the right approach and adequate preparation, your child can emerge as a highly qualified candidate for admission to top colleges in the United States.
Where to start?
As a parent, it is crucial to be aware of the key factors that contribute to successful admission to top colleges. Firstly, ensure that your child has a solid academic foundation by enrolling them in advanced courses and encouraging them to maintain excellent grades. Additionally, extracurricular activities play a significant role in college admissions. Encourage your child to participate in a variety of activities that demonstrate their leadership, creativity, and teamwork skills. It is also essential to cultivate a love of learning in your child by exposing them to a diverse range of experiences and encouraging them to pursue their interests.
Now, let’s discuss a few key checkpoints you can take as a parent to gauge the realism of your future plans.
1. Who attends an Ivy League school?
Students with near-to-perfect GPAs are usually at the front of the line for the Ivy League school. Any student with less than this is unlikely to even get a look in. However, it is important to acknowledge that a lower GPA between 3.6 – 3.8 is a noteworthy academic achievement, but it may not be sufficient to gain admission to highly selective Ivy League colleges. While grades are an important factor in college admissions evaluations, they are only one piece of the puzzle. So, while a lower GPA, for instance, is still certainly an achievement to be proud of, it may not guarantee admission to the most selective colleges and universities. Students should focus on developing their full potential in all areas of their lives to achieve their long-term academic and career goals.
What can you do as a parent? Check the average GPA of the students accepted to the school you have in mind. This quick research can give you a ballpark idea of the caliber of students competing for spots at this prestigious campus. While you do this, it’s helpful to research more about the current student body and the incoming freshman class. According to these statistics about the various colleges you consider, what kind of student profiles gain acceptance? Do these profiles align with your student’s achievements? Even better, see if you can find sample student essays to get a firsthand feel for the winning applicants.
With this information in hand, you can make much better decisions about how to help your student prepare to produce a winning application.
2. Are you helping your high school student maximize their time?
We’ve discussed before how parents can influence their students’ overall college search process through supportive guidance. These recommendations are based on our years of interacting with students and families and finding success for all sides of the equation! From improving family relationships to decreasing stress, these tips can help throughout the high school years.
In addition to what has already been mentioned, various strategies can help your teenager make the most of their time both in and outside of school. One option is to encourage them to join extracurricular activities, such as sports teams or theater clubs, which can help them both to develop new skills and interests and to expand their social network. For instance, is your student doing something productive during their vacation from school? Are they seeking out summer programs? Likely, parents will need to help provide encouragement to help expand teens’ comfort zones.
Finally, Empowerly recommends your child take advantage of any advanced curriculum that may be offered at their school. In addition to AP, IB, or Honors classes, there are often other options available such as dual enrollment programs at a community college or independent study courses. It’s important to keep in mind that taking on more challenging coursework can be beneficial for your child’s academic and personal growth. However, it’s also important to make sure that they feel ready and prepared for the workload. You can help by discussing their options with them and providing support and guidance as they navigate these decisions.
3. Do your student’s extracurricular activities have a unique impact?
Admissions committees also consider a variety of other criteria, such as extracurricular activities, essays, and recommendation letters. Therefore, students need to present a well-rounded application that showcases their strengths and unique qualities beyond just their grades. In addition, students should focus on developing their personal brand and marketing themselves effectively to stand out in the highly competitive college admissions process.
Not only do top candidates have a range of personal interests and talents shown through their Activities List, but the activities themselves are also noteworthy. How do your student’s actions impact the communities around them? Does your student hold any leadership positions, or own specific projects with positive results?
Another important strategy that can help achieve remarkable extracurriculars is to consistently do a few chosen activities over a longer period of time, and become notably skilled at them. In this way, you will gain a new level of expertise as a student aficionado. Through national or international competitions, publications, or news outlets, these spectacular student achievements can certainly attract a college’s eye.
How to help your student be highly qualified for top colleges:
When you build a college list with your student, try to ensure that you include a range of different kinds of schools. What’s more, remember that the best possible future for your student—the one in which they feel fulfilled, successful, well-compensated, and happy—might not include the Ivy League you have your heart set on! Remember that every student is different, and many factors play into college admissions decisions.
In conclusion, we hope that this information can provide you with a helpful reality check, as well as tangible advice for how to help your college hopeful aim for the stars. While the road to admission to top colleges in the United States is challenging, it is not impossible. By taking the necessary steps and providing your child with the right support and guidance, you can help them achieve their academic goals and reach their full potential.
Empowerly can help you succeed.
Empowerly College Counseling understands the significance of the college application process for both students and parents. It can be a daunting task, and we are here to not only guide you through the process but to also provide you with the necessary resources to make informed decisions. Our team of experienced College Coaches takes a personalized approach to ensure that each student has the best chance of success.
During your consultation, we will discuss your family’s unique needs and goals to create a customized plan that fits your schedule and budget. Our College Coaches are committed to helping you make the most of your time and resources to achieve your goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out and book a consultation today!