College Crash Course Part 3: Think Extra Curricular

Colleges love extra curricular activities. Think not too many, not too few. Depth not breadth.

Have your student participate in activities that not only interest him but ones in which he can make a difference. Some examples include: scouts, clubs, sports, music, dance, and community service. Look for opportunities that enable your child to develop and demonstrate leadership skills. A student that has worked hard and is accomplished in an area or two will catch the eye of college admissions counselors. 

Tenth grade is also the year when your student will want to prepare for and even begin standardized testing. The SAT and ACT are the most important college entrance exams to take. Many students also take the PSAT and SAT subject tests, however they are not required by all colleges. Consider purchasing test prep books for the exams to help your student prepare. I’ll be discussing the specifics of college entrance testing in my next blog.

It’s not too early to begin requesting brochures and information from colleges in which your child is interested. Get the “insider tips” by talking with current college students and their parents about their experiences. This is a great resource that can help narrow down your college choices quickly.

Last, make good use of the summer between the 10th and 11th grade years. Have your student look for jobs, internships, or volunteer opportunities that interest him. You might also consider one of the summer programs for high school students offered by various colleges.