Navigating the College Admissions Process for High School Students

Families often ask when they should begin preparing for college. This is a difficult question because early preparation begins in middle school. It begins with taking a challenging curriculum, earning good grades, developing a passion and engaging in community service projects. Selective colleges are looking for scholars, however not every student can achieve at this level. Getting accepted to the most prestigious universities has been increasingly difficult, which has been frustrating to both students and their families. How can students stand out from other applicants? What about students who do not have stellar grades and resumes, is there a place for them? The answer is yes, most definitely, there is a right fit college for everyone. Getting started can be the biggest hurdle, but there is a path for all. This is where an independent college counselor can help. Greenhaus College Consulting in San Diego, has helped many students succeed in this area. Part of their success lies in the 4 step progressive process they have created. Year after year, students are accepted to the best fit schools including selective universities. Lets take a closer look at the 4 step process that sets up our student for success.

Explore

When we first begin working with a student we like to spend some time helping them learn about who they are, and how that will translate to their educational choices about college and where they will spend the next four years. We call this the Exploration Phase. Once a student learns more about themselves they will feel more confident about making decisions. Our college counseling process will include: Personality Testing, Learning Style Quiz, Strength Finder Activities, Educational Questionaires, Online Career Matching Assessments. These sessions will also include discussions about school work, academic planning for senior year, testing strategies, volunteer work and building good relationships with teachers. The overall goal will be to emerge from this process with self confidence and the enthusiasm to move onto the next phase. An independent college admissions counselor is often able to help students figure out what they want from a college and how to create a balanced college list. Our goal is to find the perfect college that will engage and develop each student in this important step of their life.

Planning

We usually start working with students in sophomore or junior year, during their second semester. This is a great time to get organized and focused. As students emerge from the Exploration process ready to take on the college search process, our ultimate goal is help them get ready for the fall. The goal of the planning phase is to develop a customized list of fifteen colleges and revise the students activity resume. The next step is to begin writing the main college essay, and developing topics for the additional essay supplements. The college planning phase includes organizing college visits and developing an action timeline so students can stay on task. Many private colleges track the interest of their students so we highly encourage these visits. Our goal is to have students complete their college lists, part of the college application and at least one or more essays prior to the start of senior year. The students can now return to high school with more confidence than before. Putting a plan in place helps to ease the stress for families. While many of our students come to us from the San Diego area, we also work with students in various parts of the country, utilizing Skype, Face-time and phone calls, we get to the heart of the matter.

Apply

The goal for the application phase is to make sure the student is fully engaged in the application process. The college counselor is guiding the student to complete their applications, writing their essays and interfacing with teachers. Obtaining letters of recommendation is highly important. An independent college counselor can provide much insight into obtaining great letters from teachers and counselors, especially in a large high school. Experienced counselors can help students prepare for the college interview. When an application arrives, it can be very helpful to have some notes on file from each student. This shows the college admissions officer that the student is truly interested in applying and attending their school. At Greenhaus College Consulting we prepare each of our students with mock interviews. 100 percent of our students are at ease during the real interview and often come back feeling quite confident.

Select

The college selection process should be the most fun, because this is when students get to choose from the list of schools they have been accepted to. Consultation on various college options include side by side comparisons of two or more offers, a financial aid award breakdown, contacting schools to set up an overnight visit, attending an open house for admitted students, and speaking with student alumni. Often times when a student is unable to attend an open house in the spring an independent counselor can help them find a local alumni to speak with. This can be invaluable for out of state students who are trying to decide between two campuses. The selection process is really the culmination of the college admissions process however many students can benefit from post admissions advisement. At Greenhaus Consulting we include these services with many of our comprehensive packages.

Freshman Transition Services

From the time a student accepts the offer from a college to the time they step foot on the campus during fall, there are a few steps to put in place. For most students this includes applying for housing, and registering for classes but for students with learning issues, the process is more detailed. These students need to have a well laid plan in place. Part of our work at Greenhaus College Consulting includes assisting families in obtaining the necessary accommodations at the college level. Some colleges will accept a 504 Plan, but many will require current testing at the adult levels. In order to help both students and families make a smooth transition from high school to college we provide an additional level of services to them. This is referred to as the freshman transition package. We make sure that the student has the proper documentation to receive his/her accommodations and that we identify the needs of the student and how they can be most successful. Some of these services include helping students set up an interview with the disabilities office, coaching them in advance to advocate for they needs and advising them on freshman class selection.

As we can see, an independent college counselor can provide much support for a high school student. Their knowledge of colleges is vast and their understanding of the process is comprehensive. This type of professional advisement is highly beneficial for families who are unsure about the college admissions process and are seeking expert guidance.

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