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Preparing for college

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

The first day of school always seems to arrive quicker than we expect. Depending upon how far along your student is in high school, your focus may be on different things:

Ninth grade: Be sure your student understands Grade Point Averages. This is a major transition year; for the first time, everything he or she does in school matters. Developing strong study habits now will pay off mightily. Help your student select courses as part of a four-year plan. Keep in mind that he or she needs to fulfill the entrance requirements for colleges/universities. Visit at least one college campus.

Tenth grade: Talk about what your student loves to do. What does he or she envision herself doing as a career? Take advantage of job shadow and volunteer opportunities. Visit a college campus or apprenticeship program.

Eleventh grade: Academics are the priority. Deliberate preparation for college entrance exams like the ACT can boost your student’s score. This is the year to seriously shop for your student’s post-secondary educational home. The more exposure your student has to his or her options, the better chance he or she will make the right choice and find success. Go on many campus visits.

Twelfth grade: Apply. Have all applications in by Nov. 1, if possible. This allows time to meet other deadlines, such as scholarship applications and housing deposits. You can focus on financial aid and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid after Jan. 1. By April, most students have their financial aid award letters and can make their final decision by the May 1 deadline.

Information provided by Heather Isaacson, Director of Academic Planning and Mentoring at Home Remedies, 511 E. Sixth St. Des Moines, 515-243-7810.

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