While there is a lot of information in my book, “Achieving Admission: How to Help Students Get into Selective Colleges and Keep Everyone Sane in the Process,” that I hope you benefit from, here are some key tips I would like everyone to consider.
- Start early. The college admissions process can be complex and overwhelming, especially while you're trying to navigate schoolwork, athletics and extracurricular activities. Make a plan of action to address the admission requirements of the schools where you're applying. Be aware of their deadlines, applications fees, any essays you might have to write, etc.
- Gather information from the experts. In the Summit's College Counseling Office, we help steer students in the right direction. Admissions and financial aid officers at prospective institutions and college guidebooks are great resources too.
- Be objective about the amount of credibility you give to resources. Stories from your friend's second cousin are probably not the most reliable.
- Ask for help. Here in The Summit's College Counseling Office, we are eager to partner with students on the journey. Tell your college counselor what you need to help you discover what is right for you.
- Don't go it alone. Realize that your teachers, counselors, coaches and parents care deeply about your future. Try meeting with those individuals at once to get everyone on the same page with respect to what you, as the student, need in this process.
- For parents, be supportive. This is a challenging time for your children. However, you can help set the pace for them. Make yourself available to tour schools, allow scheduled check-in times to see their progress and how they feel about it, partner with them to better navigate this process and give them space to enjoy moments free from "shop talk."
- Don't sell yourself short. Work with your college counselor to create a balanced college list that reflects your aspirations in higher education. With the support of your school community behind you, you are equipped for success. Aim High!
Nick J. Accrocco, Ed.D. is the College Counseling Director at The Summit Country Day School. Dr. Accrocco is responsible for helping Summit students gain admission to top-tier colleges across the country. He is a 19-year veteran administrator in the private school college counseling and university admissions landscape. He co-authored the book, “Achieving Admission: How to Help Students Get Into Selective Colleges and Keep Everyone Sane in the Process.”