Throughout our years of college counseling and the many changes we have witnessed in the industry, some things have remained the same. For example, no amount of wishfulness on the part of parents will bring much success without the full cooperation and commitment of the student, who is, after all, at the center of this complex process. Even with the student’s full support, of course, the quality of the application and its assorted parts must optimally reflect the best face of the student behind that application. And, perhaps most importantly, an early start will always yield the best results.
Without question, students who become involved in the college process with an educational consultant in the ninth and tenth grades have the best results, both in the quality of placement and the probability of successful navigation through the college or university ultimately chosen. An early start allows the student to make adjustments to curriculum; to engage and overcome weaknesses; to plan for summer enrichment opportunities; to develop an effective outside reading program; and to undertake test prep, when necessary. Early campus visits can also serve as strong motivation for high level performance years in advance of an actual application. (Whenever a student can establish a relationship with a favorite college early in the high school years, a clear demonstration of interest is being established and will almost certainly be noted in the eventual admissions file.)
Since the eleventh grade is well-known to be the most important year for writing one’s record to colleges, students who begin to work with IESolutions in the ninth or tenth grade have time to prepare – and review – prior to that critically important academic term. (How many tenth grade parents actually think of encouraging their rising eleventh grader to obtain a textbook or two for review during the summer before?) For many tenth graders, college seems light years away, but it is really just around the corner. The fortunate sophomore who has a personal plan in place for college has all of the motivation needed to achieve wonderful results when that day arrives.
CARTER P. REESE, Director, Informed Educational Solutions