Admit it, most parents ask the same question about the college admission process: “When do we start?” The Crisp Consulting + Coaching website gets this inquiry at least once a day. We are always appreciative that the parents with which we work want to intentionally invest in their college-bound children. Today, we received the following question:
Hello Brian, my son will be a rising freshman in high school and I am looking for some help and guidance as my husband and I assist him in the college process. I know it is early, but from what I hear, not too early to begin the process. Is this true?
Knowing that the toughest college admission cycle in history just finished, this is a great question. Is it too early to start planning for college? No. Andrew Ferguson, author of Crazy U, pens, “People say ‘It’s okay to start your junior year.’ No it’s not!” Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to offer a few ways your rising ninth grader can start on the path to college admission.
Start Investigating. Investigate your high school’s extracurricular activities and focus on a few interests that would require a four-year commitment. It is fine to try many activities but have at least two to three that are long-term. Martha Allman, Dean of Admissions at Wake Forest University, comments “colleges seek depth of involvement, not breadth so focus your time and attention on a few activities in which you excel and enjoy.”.
Start Reading. In your spare time, read! Novels, newspapers, journals, subtitles on foreign films will prepare you for the SAT. Reading many different styles and genres will prepare you for the SAT Critical Reading section better than any test preparation course. The more you read, the more your vocabulary and reading comprehension increase. This translates into a higher score on the section of the SAT on which colleges focus most intently.
Start Taking School Seriously. Colleges are examining the grades and the quality of courses. Vanderbilt University’s Douglas Christiansen offers this advice, “ take the most rigorous curriculum they can and still do well. If you have all A’s in easy courses, it won’t go well for you, just as it won’t do you any good to take every AP course offered and get all C’s.” A weak ninth-grade year could jeopardize college admission.
Preparing for college admission should start now. As college acceptance continues to grow more competitive, an intentional educational plan that focuses on all four years of high school will prepare students for success and college admission.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.