Choosing where to go to college is likely one of the biggest decisions that your teenager has ever had to make. From the start of the search process to the test prep to making a final decision, there are a lot of factors to consider. Here are five ways to help your teen prep for the college admission process.

Get a Head Start

Once you hit high school, it is never too early to begin thinking ahead to college. The classes that you take as early as your freshman year can have a direct impact on your success in the college admission process. While it is certainly normal to switch up your schedule, having a guiding blueprint for these high school years can help to ensure that you take classes that will give you a competitive advantage.

If you have a college that you have your heart set on, it is important to understand their college requirements as it relates to high school course load. For example, some public universities in California require that you take two semesters of the same fine arts discipline. If you are applying from out of state, you may not know this until it is too late. Getting a head start will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row.

Visit Schools

Just like prepping your high school class schedule to boost your chances for college admission, you also need to use this time to visit potential schools. Most experts recommend setting aside time during your junior year of high school to tour college campuses.

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has limited what some college campuses can offer for formal tours, it is still worth your time to spend time around the school and surrounding areas to get a good taste of the culture. Visiting campuses will help you to narrow down your options and get a better idea of what type of college and culture appeals the most to your teen.

Standardized Test Prep

One of the greatest keys to success in the college admission process is doing well on standardized testing. This can be overwhelming for many students not used to this type of testing process. Fortunately, there are several resources available to students wanting to maximize their scores.

The good news is that you do not even need to leave the house to improve your ACT score. When looking for the best ACT tutoring online, be sure to look for a provider that will customize the test prep to fit your student’s specific needs. An online test prep course will also provide the flexibility needed to fit this into your busy schedule.

Discuss Finances

Although it can be a difficult conversation, you must discuss the finances of college with your teen. The need to know exactly how much you can afford to provide as a family and what they may be expected to contribute. Be sure to also factor in travel costs if your teen wants to go out of state.

Having this conversation early in the college search will ensure that your child is looking at the schools that are the best fit for your family’s budget. You can take this one step further by looking at what various schools have to offer for financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Understanding this information upfront will help you to narrow down the list of possibilities before your teen falls in love with a school that may not be within the budget.

Make Your Essays Shine

In addition to high school grades, extracurricular activities, and standardized test scores, your teen may also be asked to submit an essay for consideration. This is the perfect place to let your child’s personality and accomplishments shine through in a personal way.

Do not leave writing the essays until the last minute. You want to allow yourself plenty of time to write, re-write, and edit. It is a good idea to encourage your teen to ask multiple people to look over their essays and offer input. A fine-tuned essay may be what puts your teen’s application over the top.

Applying to college is undoubtedly a stressful time. However, the right approach and resources can help your teenager to earn a wide array of acceptances.