10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College

As we prepare to host Brooke Daly and Lindsey Ringenbach of Advantage College Planning on September 13th at 7 PM, we invited them to prepare a guest post for our Friday Brief. Be sure to read all the way through then watch the video below to learn more about the event.


10 Things to Consider As You Help Your High School Student Prepare for College

10. Encourage your student to make connections with her teachers. Your student (as opposed to you) should be the one contacting teachers to ask clarifying questions about assignments or grades. Your student should meet with his teachers after class or before school to ask for extra help or talk about topics discussed in class. These relationships will be particularly important when your student needs to ask for letters of recommendation for college applications.

9. Help your student find balance in her curriculum; encourage her to take challenging courses, particularly in subjects she is most interested in. Colleges value rigor across all disciplines, including foreign language, in high school. If your student is ready for Honors, AP, IB, or dual enrollment classes, encourage him to take them.

8. Keep your family organized as the college search/application process begins. Create an email address just for college communication ([email protected] for example) and find a space in the house to keep track of college mail.

7. Visit local colleges with your student to learn the lingo and start to understand what happens on a college tour.

6. Encourage your student to develop curiosity about an academic subject. Help him dive deeper into a topic by taking him to museums, festivals, special events or lectures. Colleges value academic curiosity and learning just for the sake of learning.

5. Let your student make mistakes. Colleges expect that students will make mistakes throughout high school. In fact, several colleges ask specific essay questions about failure. Encouraging your student to take ownership of her mistakes, and learn from her failures, demonstrates growth and maturity.

4. Periodically ask your student to check in and self-assess. Encourage him to reflect on his strengths and weaknesses. Does he have strong time management skills? Does he work well with his peers? The college search process is most successful when students have a good understanding of who they are.

3. Expose your student to different careers. Encourage her talk to your friends/family members about their jobs. Schedule informational interviews with your contacts so your student can learn more about potential job fields.

2. Help your student set goals and assess if she achieved those goals. Colleges are looking for students who have stretched themselves academically and extra-curricularly. Encourage your student to push herself by setting achievable milestones throughout high school.

1. Remember that the high school experience has value aside from just preparing for college. Help your student make choices for a happy and healthy high school career. Sleep, exercise, and family time are always important!

Enjoy the video below to learn more about the event and be sure to call us at 919-821-5225 or email Ryan Smith at [email protected] to reserve your seat!

Ryan Smith
[email protected]

Born and raised on the North Shore of Massachusetts, I moved to Raleigh in 2011 to marry my wife, Emily. We have two kids, Jack and Gwen, a golden retriever named Olly, and are members of Church of the Apostles. I have been a Financial Advisor since 2005 and earned a Master’s of Science in Financial Planning from Bentley University in 2007. I became a CFP® professional in 2009, a Retirement Income Certified Professional® in 2015, and a Certified Tax Specialist™ in 2023.