College Prep is For Parents Too


It all began 3 weeks ago when I got a Back to School Flyer in the mail – Yup at the beginning of July!! Barely catching my breath after the end of this school year and I get hit with the next round. What’s the big deal? I scarcely kept afloat last year with all the new information, rules, processes etc. that go along with high school (thankfully my daughter has her act together). I also was grateful to a few friends with graduating seniors who’ve walked that path already and patiently tolerated my panic attacks. So the back to school flyer prompted me to do a little research on what to expect/prepare for in the next few years.

I found this article

by US News very comprehensive and concise:

  1. It’s never too soon to start visiting college campuses to get a feel of the different kinds (large vs small, in/near a major center vs isolated and rural etc). You can even sign up for official campus tours.shutterstock_297736616
  2. Your resume or portfolio is a work in progress and should be worked on and added to (and considered) from the beginning of your high school career.
  3. Do not take your reference letters lightly. Ask teachers who know you well and can give you personal referral. 

There are also professionals to help you and your child with this process, like Marisa Sandora, the Essay Specialist.

   As a long-time professional editor and writer, she is more than qualified to guide applicants in their essay-writing process, which is such a vital part of any application. She stresses that the essay is what can set you apart from a multitude of other applicants with good grades and impressive extracurricular activities. Her role is NOT to write the essay but to get to know applicant and help them choose the best topic and then guide them in their writing. Says Marisa, “A lot of teens don’t know what to write about. I can help them evaluate their life experiences and identify what really makes them unique”. She can help applicants devise an outline based on their ideas and provide feedback on structure and content. With her years of experience as a professional writer, she knows how to get to the “meat” of a topic while being efficient and, of course, help with content, grammar, punctuation and spelling.shutterstock_20107144

Here are some more tips Marisa has for those like me, entering into this Land of Oz:

  1. Start the summer between junior and senior year (before you get busy with school commitments).
  2. Stay focused on one main idea rather than trying to cover everything.
  3. Be thoughtful about your topic. Colleges want to see how you think, not just read about what you did.
  4. Be vivid in your writing. (Show, don’t tell.) Write with active verbs and use descriptive language. Think about trying to convey smell, taste, sound and feeling.
  5. Be accurate! Make sure you don’t go over the maximum word count. Fact check; spell check; proofread; have others read. Don’t rely on your computer to catch every error.

Now with summer half over, I feel I have a basic game plan going forward with my oldest, as she will soon enter her sophomore year. With the help of my friends and professionals alike I feel confident we will get through this rite of passage just like everyone else. Now to figure out all these college admissions tests….





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Author: tammyjuco

Motivating and assisting you and your family to a healthier and happier lifestyle.


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