College prep: One mom's timeline for high school
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By Boots Whitmer
Summer between 11th and 12th grades
Have your child write college essays!
The applications are mostly due in November of senior year for students applying early decision to private colleges and some public universities, and only a month later for the rest of the colleges. This, on top of the usual heavy first-semester senior year, is a killer. So, where possible, get those application essays done early.
At the same time, get the "uniform college application" together.
As well (Editor's note: This could be your state university system's uniform application to all campuses or the Common Application used by most private colleges, or both.). You will save yourself a lot of stress if your child is able to accomplish this the summer before senior year.
First semester, 12th grade
Your child will need teacher recommendations and counselor recommendations.
If you don't already have them in hand, ask for them early, like the first week or two of school. It's fair to the teachers, and the counselors are overwhelmed.
Your child needs to keep up the good work, gradewise, and get the applications in.
Some will want to retest. Remember that the kids are stressed.
Make sure that your student is getting the counselor to send in the proper transcripts, etc.
Most colleges will keep sending reminders of what's missing, but deadlines are deadlines.
Second semester, 12th grade
Keep up grades.
Colleges now require a full transcript including final grades for senior year, and all admissions are conditioned on good grades continuing to the end of the year.
Admission letters come out in April for private schools and earlier for some public universities.
If your child has been accepted to more than one college she wanted to attend, she has until early May to decide which college to accept.
If you have already visited these colleges, you probably have a complete impression of them, but if not: It's road trip time.
Again, if you can manage it. Check to see if your school district considers these trips excused or unexcused absences because that may affect your child's grades. Sometimes these visits are unavoidable because colleges require a personal appearance after acceptance to qualify for the college's scholarship aid.
If your child has been wait-listed or rejected from his dream college, appeal.
Find out when the first day of college falls and keep pestering the admissions office. People drop out right before the first day, and colleges are eager to fill those spots.
Fall of freshman year
Congratulations! You survived it. Be SURE to attend parents' weekend, regardless of what your child tells you. Believe me, you will all enjoy it.