We talk to our sons and daughters about testing and essays and big schools vs. small but we often forget to talk to them about staying healthy through the process and beyond into college -- from taking care of themselves by getting enough sleep to always carrying their insurance card. Pediatrician Perri Klass has an excellent piece in today's New York Times, College Prep, This Time for Health, about the important conversations parents and students need to have about making wise health choices and getting help when it's needed. And high school is not too early to start having these conversations. We talk to our children about doing their best in the classroom and on a playing field. Don't forget to teach them to tune into their health and do their best there, as well.
The New York Times has a sneak preview of the changes afoot for the SAT and digital ACT. It's interesting in that it shows what they're thinking. But don't stress! These changes likely won't occur until 2015 or later! Check it out here.
Now that school is out for summer, College Admission is going on vacation, too. But just as rising seniors will be working from time to time on their college application process, we'll also be hanging around and posting a bit. So please check in from time to time here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
We'll be back strong in August with advice from more deans -- Georgia Tech and Davidson start us off -- and more high school college counselors -- from New Mexico and Indiana -- as well as a Q&A with a top college recruiter for football, information for students interested in applying to the military academies, and the complete guide to the new Common Application, CA4.
In the meantime, enjoy the lazy days of summer... I know we will.
Read, read, read… There are many theories about education, but there is one fact. The key to doing well in school and getting into college is reading. It improves grades, test results, and is the best predictor of whether students will succeed in college. So, start working on your summer reading list now because the best feeder school to the college of your choice is Amazon.com -- or your local library.
If your school doesn't provide a summer reading list, create your own. Need ideas? Check out “101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers”. Or Google “summer reading lists for high school students." Ask at your local library. And bookstores often have the summer reading lists for all local high schools. Then, read, read, read…
Before the end of the school year, ask two teachers for recommendations. But remember that writing letters of recommendation is not part of a teacher's normal job duties. So keep that in mind and approach your teachers with a polite considerate request. Here are some pointers:
* Ask in person. No emails. A personal request is most thoughtful
* Do not ask for more recommendations than you need. Pick two teachers and use the same two for all your applications. (Note: you will need to ask teachers who fulfill the guidelines of the colleges to which you are applying. Check the colleges' websites.)
* Say "please" when you ask and "thank you" when the teacher agrees.
Here's a sound bite: "I'm thinking ahead to college applications and wonder if you feel writing a recommendation is something you can do for me."
Most teachers are happy to help you.
The transition from high school to college, particularly for students who leave home and live in campus residence halls, is a challenge for nearly all students. However, some students find it more daunting than others. Experienced counselors, both in high schools and on college campuses, have learned to recognize the stages that most students go through, beginning at the end of senior year, through the summer after graduation, and continuing through freshman year of college. But most students have only a vague idea of what this transition will be like and are therefore stunned by the challenges they encounter. First generation students, in particular, are likely to encounter surprises because their parents, having not attended college, haven’t had discussions with them about what to expect.
Today, educational psychologist Jane McClure continues her series that walks students and parents through what the future may hold with Stages 3 and 4 -- The First Term and The Honeymoon. Her previous post on the first two stages in "The Transition from High School to College" -- The Summer of Transition and Separation Anxiety -- can be seen here.
Stage 3: The First Term
Your senior year is important to colleges. Acceptance letters are contingent on your finishing the year at the same performance level as when you applied. Keep your focus and stay fully engaged -- both in the classroom and on campus. If slacking off gets out of hand, it can have serious consequences. If you are waitlisted, a dip in grades or lapse in judgment can work against your being admitted. Admission can even be rescinded for significant changes in grades or disciplinary action for behavioral issues. And it's important to model good behavior for the junior class following in your footsteps. Keep up the good work! You'll be glad you did.
Follow up with each college to which you have applied to make sure all forms and documents have been received. Many colleges have status pages available online. If you can’t check online, send an email or place a phone call to the admission office. Respect that the admission office is busy at this time; don’t call every day. In most cases, the school will inform you if your file is incomplete. But it's your responsibility to confirm all application materials have been received.