HELP!!! MY KID IS A JUNIOR AND WANTS TO GO TO COLLEGE. By James Kiger. 11 th Grade Counselor. Smyrna High School

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1 HELP!!! MY KID IS A JUNIOR AND WANTS TO GO TO COLLEGE. By James Kiger 11 th Grade Counselor Smyrna High School

2 Introduction Where has time gone? That little baby you just brought home from the hospital is a living, breathing, texting almost full grown teenager who wants to embark on the world of college and you are clueless as to how to get them there. Welcome to the real world! Getting ready for college is not a difficult process, in fact, it s one of the easiest things you can do if you simply can motivate your junior to do what they have been instructed to do and take it one step at a time. Let s assume they never have told you what their counselor told them and start from the beginning. Starting Right now and preferably in the beginning of your junior year Step One: Determine if your child really wants to go to college. Not everyone is cut out for college. If your son or daughter is better working with their hands or would like to learn a trade, then maybe a community college or trade school is right for them. Step Two: Determine your child s strengths. Ask these questions of them. What can you see yourself doing for the rest of your life? What ideas do you have right now for what you would like to major in?

3 What are you good at doing? Hint: They can determine this by taking their Student Success Plan seriously at Note: Don t panic if your child cannot determine what they d like to major in yet. Statistics tell us that students will change their major maybe up to 3 times and change careers up to 7 times in a working lifetime. If you can t find a major yet, start working on a school they are interested in. As a side note: One of the careers I have outside of my work as a school counselor is my Youth Success Coaching that I do. I work with individual students in helping them find their true life motivators and match them with Careers that they will love not just make money doing. If you are interested in this service please contact me. If you haven t missed the date, your child should have taken the PSAT in October of their junior year. Step Three: Determine what kind of school they are interested in Most teenagers choose their initial list based on popularity or a school that s doing well in football. Lots of students want to go to Florida State or Miami or Penn State or Michigan because of these reasons. Unfortunately as an out of state student; their grades, SAT scores, and the cost make this an unrealistic goal. Use these questions to determine what schools make sense:

4 Big school or Small School? Driving distance from home? In the city or in a rural setting? Do they have my major? Step Four: Do a College Search at

5 Answer the questions they ask and it will create a list of about 20 or so schools that meet the criteria you put in. This becomes the list you work from. FROM DECEMBER OF JUNIOR YEAR TO MARCH JUNIOR YEAR Step Five: Whittle down the list to a manageable number of 5-6 schools Your child needs to sit down once or twice a week and visit the websites of the schools on their original list and begin to eliminate schools based on distance from home, majors, costs etc. When they are done, they should have 4-6 schools left. Step Six: Take the SAT. You can register online at You should take the test at least 2 times to get an accurate score. Note: Smyrna High School offers the SAT in School Every April for FREE to juniors!

6 Step Seven: Plan trips to visit at least the top 3-4 schools on the list. Over spring break, over a weekend, during the school day or during the summer, you must visit the schools that your child is really interested in. Just visit the website of that school and look for Junior Visitation Days or Schedule a visit sites and set up a time to go tour the campus. When you visit the campus you should: See or visit: Dorms Classrooms The Department of the Major they are interested in Eat in the cafeteria Go to the Bookstore Talk to students

7 Go to the Financial Aid office Take a tour of the campus Check out the town Fall of your Senior Year Step Eight: Pick your top 3-4 schools in order then apply to them. Make sure you meet all deadlines. The earlier you apply and are accepted the better. You will get first dibs on scholarship money, dorm choices and other important things for freshmen. What about Scholarships? Most scholarships cannot be applied for until a student s senior year; However, there are some scholarships that can be applied for during the summer between your child s junior and senior year. On my webpage, I have a section titled Scholarship Information If you click on that page, you will see some websites where you can start your research on scholarships but don t panic, you are well ahead of schedule. In your child s senior year, Mrs. Duke, our senior counselor, will be visiting classrooms to talk about all the scholarship opportunities available to you.

8 Conclusion: If you follow these simple steps in order and do it in a timely manner, this should be a fairly painless process (until you have to pay for it!!!) Good Luck and if you have any further questions, you may always me at Thanks so much James Kiger 11 th Grade Counselor Smyrna High School

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