College Pete

These are the 5 ‘Must Do’s’ for All College Bound Teens (and the Parents Who Love Them)

These are the 5 ‘Must Do’s’ for All College Bound Teens (and the Parents Who Love Them)

Last night I had the privilege of attending commencement ceremonies for the Xceed Preparatory Class of 2023! And I’m not gonna lie, I got a little emotional. You see, we’ve been advising Xceed families since the school’s inception 6 years ago and we were so thrilled to celebrate with the students, to help shine a light on their varied talents…and to showcase their many successes. This Xceed class was the largest one yet with 39 graduates honored. Congratulations to Xceed seniors and to all seniors who are reaching this milestone!

At YCC specifically, it is long-term relationships (like these) that we forge with all of our college-bound families that is our greatest source of pride. If you think about it, you get it: we’re working with people’s most precious ‘assets’, their children, and their money (hopefully in that order)…and we’re tasked with helping guide the former into adulthood while protecting the latter. It is a tremendous responsibility, one we take very seriously.

So candidly, I feel blessed to be invited to witness graduations like last night’s and to be entrusted by so many for so long — most of our families are with us for years. It’s not uncommon for us to advise a family all the way through their oldest child’s entire college experience, and to then work with multiple younger siblings, cousins and even nieces/nephews. And yet, as every parent knows, no two children — even those with the exact same genetics — are alike. Thus no two college plans are alike.

And though this is indisputable, there is, however, one common denominator to all of our students successes. Preparation. Actually, advanced preparation.

Which brings me to today’s point (admit it, you were beginning to wonder if I had one?)! We have a saying in our firm:

In order to…GET AHEAD, it helps to GET A HEAD START.

Even as we process what we learned in the last admissions cycle, we’re already starting to prepare our next class.

Hey 11th graders: (and the parents who love them), time to get serious about applying to college.

Actually if you have a child in high school – of any year – you should probably pay attention. You’re likely already receiving a fair share of college-related ‘literature’.  And by the end of 11th grade, it’s easy it is for you/your child to become overwhelmed by this constant barrage of information and misinformation from every source imaginable about the college application process. So if you think it’s a nuisance now, once your student begins 12th grade, it can get a whole lot worse. 

But it doesn’t have to be. Applying to college can be systemized, stress-free, efficient, even ‘enjoyable’… and… gaining admission to school that you’ll love and paying a reasonable price you can afford without dipping into your life savings or taking on onerous student loan debt is achievable! That is…if you start early, get good advice and act upon it.

The most widely accepted college application, The Common Application, officially goes live on August 1st, BUT you can actually create an account now and begin filling out the basics. Which is a very good idea. You can also get a preview of the essay prompts and begin putting together a resume outlining your extra-curricular activities, awards and honors, community service and volunteer activities, etc., as this info will need to be entered on the application. 

Here are some other college-related activities you should be considering this summer:

  • Building (if you’re in 9th/10th grade) and/or Finalizing (if you’re in 11th)  Your College List – Though many students reflexively apply to as many as 20 schools, an ideal list is perhaps half that size and is a focused one that includes a balance of reach, target, and safety schools.
  • Visiting Colleges – While summer is not always the optimal time to see colleges at their most vibrant, it is convenient for families.  Not surprisingly, colleges expect many visitors during summer months, so there will be frequent tours and info sessions. Visiting is the best way to express interest in a college, which can sometimes help in securing an offer of admission.
  • Preparing for Fall Standardized Tests – We recommend that all students take the SAT or ACT before the end of 11th grade. The Fall dates (September – November) represent the last opportunity for many students to secure the score they want for the EA/ED deadlines. Summer is a great time to prepare for these exams.  Get yourself a tutor or private class (call us for a recommendation).
  •  Putting your finances in order – Make sure that you look up the priority financial aid filing deadlines for every school on your child’s list. You will definitely want to complete everything ahead of those deadlines. To that point, make sure you complete any financial planning or strategic changes now, or well in advance of the end of the year. In this regard, 10th grade parents, you are already half-way into what is called your ‘first base income year’ year – the tax return year that will be utilized by the government and the colleges to determine how much you may warrant in need-based grants and scholarships. Also, don’t forget that there are some big changes coming to the world of financial aid this fall (click here to see my review of these changes and how it could affect your family).
  • For 11th graders, specifically! This is a true game changer: Registering for our College Application Boot Camp (First class is June 15) – This 6 week live-taught program is exclusively for rising 12th grade students (parents are invited to the orientation on June 15). The best part is that by the end of the class, ALL enrolled students will have a completed college application, including a fine-tuned college list, a well written/edited Common APP essay, application resume and activities list. Guaranteed!  NOTE: This is the 17th year we are offering this class and we guarantee a seat for our Platinum and Gold clients. We deliberately keep class size low so that each student receives the kind of individual guidance to ensure their success. We are reaching our capacity, so claim your spot here. Our Early Bird savings will expire on Monday, May 29, so we urge you to take action today!

Finally, on behalf of our firm, on this Memorial Day weekend we remember those who have lost their lives in service to our country and extend our gratitude to all those who have and continue to serve. And to all, we wish you  a safe and enjoyable start to the summer season.

Our offices are open all summer and we are here to answer any college planning related question you may have.

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