The New College Try: How to Find the Right College For Your High School Student
Local educators share tips for helping your high school student find the right college.
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Junior year is an excellent opportunity to be visiting campuses, Maslar says, in search of the campus identity that’s the right fit for each student.
“Even things like, for example, an enclosed campus versus a city campus are important considerations to make. Perhaps a student really wanted to go to NYU because it’s NYU, but upon being out on campus, they realize it’s not the right fit for them,” she says.
“I tell students if you’re visiting grandma in Michigan this summer, check out the University of Michigan. Check out Michigan State. Go to Kalamazoo. These are three totally different feels,” Lauck says. “Where do you feel most at home? What kinds of friends do you most want to have? I think that’s what the college process is about: Finding where you’re most comfortable in life, and which of those comforts you will bring with you to college, to engage not only as a student but in a much larger community that thrives on ideas and actions and not just on classroom experience.”
It’s also the time to find out what a student is most interested in: the personality of the school or a specialization.
“Some kids just want to go to the University of Delaware, and that is just fantastic,” Maslar says. “But as a charter school for math and science, it doesn’t surprise me when kids come in here to find programs in that arena, not necessarily a school in general.”
She suggests that juniors show real interest to a school. “Go to college fairs,” she says. “Fill out the index cards for information. If you visit a campus, register and sign in. Did a college rep visit our school? We’re really great about getting people in here. And I travel to many universities to forge those connections. Students should get face time. Your name starts to be remembered. Schools see, ‘Oh, she was really interested in us.’”
All Charter juniors also sit down with Peter Van Buskirk for his presentation of “The Admissions Game.”
“This programming really breaks down the business of admissions to students,” Maslar says. “They get to learn about selectivity, look at actual applications, and hear one of the most renowned voices in admissions talk to them about the process.”
Of course, perhaps the most critical part of junior year is standardized testing. “Students will have the SATs or ACTs junior year,” Lauck says. “Some students will start prepping the summer before with a tutor or teacher. Those things seem to have taken off on their own in a lot of ways, but we also provide a good structure for that in the curriculum.”
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