How to Create a College Prep Plan
Crafting a thoughtful and thorough college prep plan is critical to reaching your college admissions goals, but often students aren’t sure where to start. It’s important for students to take some time to evaluate where they are in the process, their goals, and how they plan to achieve them.
Developing a college prep plan can not only prepare students for the college admissions process come senior year, but also alleviate a lot of stress along the way. If students are informed about where they are, what they need to be doing, and have clear goals set, they will know what to expect, when to expect it, and they won’t be blindsided by the demands of the process. Here’s how students (and parents!) can begin creating a college prep plan for the next few years.
Find Out Where You Are in the Process
Are you where you need to be with your college prep? The first step to creating a college prep plan is to know where you stand. Are you taking the right courses? Are you on track with your test prep? Have you started to build a balanced college list? It’s important to know where you are and what you need to do in order to catch up. Use our college planning checklist, which is broken down by grade, to find out if you’re behind, ahead, or on track with your college prep.
Factor in Test Prep
Knowing where you stand with your college prep also includes knowing whether or not you’re on track with your test prep. Our tutoring and test prep checklist can help you determine if you’re where you need to be with your SAT and ACT test prep. It’s important to include test prep in your college prep plan as it’s an important part of your college application and can be the difference between the “no” and “let me think about it” pile.
Once you know where you are in your college prep and test prep timeline, make some goals to help you either catch up or continue to stay on track. For example, if you’re a junior and you have yet to do research on colleges in order to build your balanced college list, make a goal to have your research done in a certain time frame in order to have your list built by the middle of the spring semester. That way you can still take advantage of spring college visits, college fairs, and more in order to have your list completed in time to start on college applications the summer before senior year.
Meet With Your College Counselor
By far the best resource when developing your college prep plan will be your college counselor. Whether it’s your school-based counselor or an independent college admissions counselor, your counselor will help you establish and refine your goals and make sure you’re on track for the application process senior year. After you’ve identified some of your goals and started to outline a plan, work with your college counselor to make sure you’re both on the same page. Your counselor can help you focus on your goals and help you catch up or stay on track with your college prep.
Leave Room For Flexibility
The college prep process is always evolving. Whether your interests change, you need more time for test prep, you visit a school on your college list and change your mind, or anything else happens that affects your college prep plan – go with it! While there is a lot to accomplish when preparing for college, this process is about you. Be flexible when circumstances or expectations change, because it will happen. One setback, like a bad grade or a lower than expected SAT or ACT score, shouldn’t throw you off completely. Adjust your goals, work with your college counselor to refine your expectations, and get back to work with your new plan in hand!
It’s always a good idea to create a college prep plan as early as possible, and adjust and refine it as you move through high school. At IvyWise we work with families in a variety of stages within their academic journey. For more information on how IvyWise can help you reach your academic and admissions goals contact us today!