The earlier in the process, the better!
The best, most helpful college planning starts before or during freshman or sophomore year of high school. This allows time to flesh out the student’s ideal academic program, delineate interests and lay the foundation for a progression of directed summer and extracurricular activities. Many of the interesting and most helpful courses and electives have prerequisites that need to be taken by freshmen and sophomores.
Students who are in the 9th or 10th grade can be given a career/personality assessment to narrow down potential careers and college major choices. These choices can then steer the student towards more useful electives, community service hours, and even internships. Students can then start speaking with professionals in that career and researching options for their future. All of these activities show interest, passion and a clear direction to college admission officials.
Sophomore and junior years are the most popular options to begin working with a college counselor, because of the beginning of SAT or ACT testing. We are happy to start working with the family before the student actually even thinks about college. A clear goal often helps students focus on their grades and future too. Talk about motivation!
Although we work with seniors, it is best not to wait until 12th grade as more strategic planning can be done in earlier grades. We assist seniors with the college process, but many things such as extracurricular activities, high school course plan, and summer activities have already been chosen and can’t be changed. For the most effective planning, start early.
This is one of the main reasons we’ve chosen to work with middle school students for free. The high school consulting package can be started during the freshman and sophomore years for the same price as starting during junior year! These early years are critical in developing a plan and helping the student along the path towards success in higher education. Consultations are available at hourly rate of $150/hour so parents can get expert advice any time that they have educational questions.