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Stay Ahead of Senioritis

4 steps to early college prep

(page 1 of 2)

It’s October of your child’s senior year in high school. By now, your teen may be in the refining stages of applying to a dream college or scrambling to consider all his options.

But beware, senioritis lurks.

Senioritis seems to hit nearly every high school senior eventually. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that your child finishes the college application process by winter break, before end-of-year activities trump, well, everything else. Mid-October brings the first round of college deadlines, for early admission, with traditional deadlines rolling on through mid-February. So now’s the time to draft a to-do list, break tasks into manageable chunks and check everything off in due course.

1. Apply, apply and apply.

Early senior year is the time to tackle the tedious work of completing college admissions applications as well as scholarship applications. You’ve likely brainstormed a wide list of possible colleges and universities to which your child should apply, including “reach,” “match” and “safety” schools (respectively, a long shot or two, several likely fits and a couple of schools that are as close to a sure bet as the admissions game allows, based on your child’s grades and test scores). Hopefully, you’ve also visited some campuses over the summer to get a feel for the size and setting that makes your child feel comfortable. If you haven’t, it’s not too late. Many colleges bring presentations to area high schools and also host prospective students overnight for free; contact your select admissions office for info.

Together, hone down that list to a manageable number, usually between five and eight. Keep in mind that the application process costs more than time: Elite schools each charge an application fee of $60 or more, plus score reporting fees of $11 per school for the SAT and ACT and $15 for AP tests. Then have your child start filling out the Common Application, accepted by most of the nation’s higher-ed institutions.  

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