As an educator, you are in an ideal position to assist your students in their college application process. You may consider taking some of the following steps, which we have found to be helpful for college applicants:
- Encourage your students to take the most challenging classes that they can effectively manage.
- Tell your students to research the standardized tests that selective colleges require (such as SAT and Subject Tests, or the ACT, often with Writing). Students should take these tests during their junior year. Especially with the early application deadline for the National College Match, it is important not to wait until senior year to start taking these tests.
- Remind your students to meet regularly with their guidance counselors and get to know their teachers, as they will be writing recommendations for college applications.
- Prompt your students to start working on their college applications as far in advance of the deadlines as possible. In particular, they should leave plenty of time to draft and revise their essays, a process in which you can help them.
- Inform your students that they should use the application to their advantage by providing as full a picture of themselves as possible. Students should consider how all the pieces of their application fit together to make a cohesive whole.
- Impress upon your students the importance of editing and proofreading all application materials—sloppy mistakes suggest that they did not spend sufficient time on an application.
- Ask them to carefully consider what schools they will apply to, and offer to answer their questions as they research colleges. For the College Match, they should remember that most of the colleges require binding commitments to attend if they rank them, so they must be confident in their choices.
- Encourage them to visit any colleges they are interested in. They should seek out more than just the "big name" schools and think about the kind of environment in which they would thrive—they might be surprised by what they find when visiting. College admissions offices may help to support and pay for campus visits for students who cannot afford them otherwise.