Here’s what I learned about the college application process

I have a high school senior who wants to attend college after graduation.

I want to help him pursue his education, so I contacted the high school counselor for a meeting. It took two tries, but she finally was able to meet with us.

Here’s a list of what I learned from our meeting;

  1. All of Idaho’s graduating seniors are pre-admitted into six colleges in Idaho. They still need to apply, but if they use the Next Steps website, they can apply for free.
  2. If your teenager wants to go to school out-of-state, then you need to check out the Western Undergraduate Exchange program. The WUE offers reduced tuition rates for colleges in 14 of the Western United States (and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands). If your senior is interested in the available majors, the WUE can significantly help defray out-of-state tuition costs (apply early).
  3. All Idaho juniors take the SAT, free of charge at a cost of about $1 million (thank you, Idaho taxpayers). If your teen has already taken the test and you do not know the scores, you can get a copy of them from the high school or look up the scores on college board. If your teenager is like mine, and can’t remember the login info, you can call the number on the website and they can help you (they are really nice… it must happen all the time). Click here to find out how Idaho SAT scores compare to the rest of the nation.
  4. Before taking the SAT (or ACT), you can request to have the scores sent to four colleges or universities. You will not be able to see the score before it is sent to the colleges. If you want to wait to see the score before sending it, it will cost $12 per school.
  5. If it’s not a financial burden, take both the SAT and ACT test. Some students perform better on one test than the other. Your student can sign up for the ACT here.
  6. Help your senior write a resume. This will help them with future job applications and requests for letters of recommendation.
  7. Speaking of letters of recommendation, your senior will need at least two of them. It is best to have the letters written by adults who know (and think highly of) your senior.
  8. If he/she wants to apply to multiple colleges, the Common Application can consolidate the process. You fill out one application, for multiple schools. Check the list for your colleges. It only had one college from my son’s list, but it had three from Idaho.
  9. Lastly, I learned that the counselor does not know my son as well as I do. She knows his scores and his face, but she’s not invested in his future like I am. It is up to us, the parents, to help our kids find the best path to their future success.

What have you learned that has helped ease the process of college applications?

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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