Last week, our Los Angeles office had the pleasure of meeting with David Montesano, Admissions Strategist and Founder of College Match US (http://www.collegematchus.com/). We were incredibly impressed by David's college admissions know-how and his unique approach to the school selection process.
Here, David shares more of his insight, explaining why it is a good idea to begin the college planning process during sophomore year.
Making the Case for Starting College Planning by Sophomore Year
Planning early for college can save you time and help ensure your student’s college admission success.
As the parent of a high school student, college admission is one of the most significant decisions that you and your child will make. Searching for the right college can be very time intensive. After all, you want to feel comfortable with your student’s choices about college admissions as you help your student transition into the next phase of his life.
Your experience making strategic business decisions has yielded positive results for your company. Don’t leave those skills at work. College admissions planning, beginning sophomore year, can help your student find the best college. Competition for college is at an all time high with 100,000 new students applying each year for college until 2014. The average high school counselor serves 300 students, but your student deserves more attention. Timing is everything. By starting to plan sophomore year you can improve your student’s chances of finding and getting in to the right school for him. Here are things that you can do:
Start early – in college admissions timing is everything. Begin planning for college admission sophomore year with your student to develop his talents and interests. Colleges' admissions representatives want to see leadership and depth in a student’s out-of-class involvement. This doesn’t mean that they have to do a lot of different activities. The best tactic is to focus and start at the beginning of high school. By starting early, your high school sophomore may develop leadership and depth rather than breadth. Colleges form a well-rounded class by choosing individuals with depth in their activities and interests.
Identify your student’s strengths. Is your student a community-builder? An inventor? An entertainer? Nuturing and developing special talents takes insight and understanding about what college admissions officers are looking for. Some want poets, others want dancers or musicians. Working with your student to develop their unique talents should be an organic and natural process. By reviewing the credentials of accepted students you can gain insights into what different colleges are looking for. Keep in mind that for some competitive colleges this may include national and state competitions and prizes such as the Intel Science Competition or playing an instrument in the local junior symphony.
Become knowledgeable about college admissions trends — dance, for example. Among the usual performing arts that students take part in outside of class, dance is now one of the most sought after among college admission offices around the country. For the first time, a number of colleges are reporting dance statistics among accepted students. Pomona and Occidental Colleges in Los Angeles now record the number of accepted students involved in dance among their freshman class profiles (5 % to 8% of freshman classes). Echoing this trend, construction is underway on new dance studios at Vassar College – one that seats 244 people. Additionally, new facilities have been built at Emory University in Atlanta, Hamilton College in NY, University of New Mexico and Tufts University in Boston this year. College Match’s dance team consists of nationally-recognized dance coaches and a choreographer. You may wish to get help from a college admissions consultant familiar with performing arts to guide your student.
Seek advice from qualified experts: finding an SAT/ACT test prep tutor and a college admissions consultant with strong track records of past successes may be like finding a needle in a haystack, but in the end it is worth your time. By working with a SAT tutor you will be able to maximize your student’s scores. High scores by fall of junior year will also qualify your student for National Merit Scholar status—something that is very helpful for college admission. Working with a college consultant as well may also improve your student’s chances of getting into the college of their dreams, but make sure you find someone that can point to past success; College Consultant Reviews is a great place to start. Counselors on this site rated by their clients on the site. Here is our review for example: http://bit.ly/mTZ0en.
Families who start sophomore year and work with a test prep tutor and a college consultant improve their chances of finding the best college fit. Gaining admission may come down to something as simple as the fact that a college needs a cellist or soccer player. For parents of freshman and sophomores, important decisions about college admission loom on the horizon. The good news is that you can relax because there are steps you can take to eliminate stress, save time, and find the best college match for your student.
David Montesano is an admission strategist with College Match US. For a copy of David’s “Ten Strategic College Admission Steps” go to www.collegematchus.com.