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The College Planning Process with Dale Price of Access College America

Nov 9, 2017

It is officially fall! Which means high school students everywhere are enjoying all sorts of fun activities such as football, cheerleading and band (just to name a few). But outside all of this fun, every student and parent should have college planning on their mind, regardless of grade level. Unfortunately, so many households are naive by waiting until their child’s senior year for college planning. Parents are simply unaware of the strategic decision-making options to position their child in the most favorable light for both admissions and financial aid awards. Decisions that can benefit the entire household, particularly the wallet as the cost of higher education is skyrocketing.

As an educational consultant, these stories are all too familiar for my practice. The unprecedented rising tuition costs juxtaposed with intense competition for admissions leave parents and students full of anxiety and wondering, “what do we do and how do we start?”. Today’s college applicant must be thoughtful, deliberate and strategic. Our team at Access College America is offering four tips for parents to give your child a leg up for award winning, competitive college applications:

First, understand that every student comes to this process at different times. But if your child is in their first or second year of high school, begin by creating an academic plan from now until the end of their senior year. There are far greater advantages of creating an academic plan now versus later; after all, seniors cannot go back and retake any classes or decide later they should have participated in extracurricular activities. Parents should map out each school year with target dates for standardized tests, create an academic list of classes, find extracurricular activities that are of interests and most of all be a source of encouragement for your child. It is true, the most important part of a college admissions application are the transcripts because that is a record of performance and rigor, but colleges are also looking for students who are well rounded. Today’s college applicant must be more than an honor student.

Second, visit colleges now. Take time on the weekends for tours, or if your family is on a road trip then make it a point to visit a college nearby while on holiday. Compare and contrast the environment, culture and get a sense for the general vibe. Meet with admissions officers and if possible sit in on one class.

Third, create a college success binder that tracks every single visit, meeting or correspondence from a college. This will be highly beneficial when writing the personal essay statement. This tool will be an exceptional go-to guide which will remind students about their visit years later. Applicants should write about their visit on their personal essay as well. The advantages of visiting a college campus are outstanding; most importantly, the visit directly connects a prospective student to the university. Admissions Officers favor personal connections from an applicant to their campus too.

Finally, always ask for help. It is readily available and there are so many resources for parents that will benefit their child and help with the costs of college. The college application process does not have to be overwhelming and draining of your time.

Dale Price, MBA is a college admissions expert and Founder of Access College America LLC, a nationally recognized educational consulting agency. He is the Former Senior Admissions Officer at the Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood and Past President of the Texas Exes Los Angeles, a registered 501(c)(3). His consulting practice assists parents with high school kids find the right college fit through self-discovery. He has an MBA from the University of Redlands and Bachelors of Arts from the University of Texas at Austin. Learn more about Access College America’s services and pricing by visiting www.AccessCollegeAmerica.org, or via email dprice@AccessCollegeAmerica.org. Search @AccessCollegeAmerica on Facebook for tips and admissions strategies.

 

Upcoming Event:

FREE College Planning Workshop - December 18th, 7:30pm - 9pm

To learn more about this upcoming event and to RSVP, visit the event page on Facebook.