It is every parent’s dream to help their children gain a place at an Ivy League College. But statistically, your chances are slim – even if your child is a high achiever. In fact, approximately less than 6% of applicants are offered a place at these top 8 institutions.
But these days, the term Ivy League can be extended to some of the other excellent 50 to 100 colleges in the top tier. The college will look at your child’s performance over many aspects of high school, not just their academic achievements. So let’s take a look at how you can improve your child’s opportunities and get some help with college applications.
- Extracurricular activities
The time and effort your child puts into extracurricular activities is crucial. It shows commitment, interest and effort. The focus of their activities is not the most important factor – of whether they focus on one main interest or a range of activities. What is important is that they use activities to grow their skills in terms of leadership, involvement and long-term interest.
- Sustained effort during their senior year
Many (indeed most) colleges will ask to see you child’s first semester or trimester grades along with their Mid Year Report. These will be compared with their final grades when the Final Report is submitted. If there is a significant drop in performance or grades during this time, this will be a red flag for any admissions board. So it’s important that your child understands they need to continue working hard, right up until their graduation.
- Personal development
Most colleges will not accept applicants based on academic achievements alone. They want to attract well-round, confident individuals who can contribute to all levels of college life. Creativity, independence of thought and motivation are all key areas that your child needs to demonstrate. It may be worth enrolling them in a personal development programme if one is available locally.
- Encourage your child to take harder high school courses each year
Just as college work will increase in difficulty with each passing year, your child is also expected to demonstrate this during their senior years. So start thinking about this during their early years as it’s not something you can go back and rectify afterwards.
- Spread your applications
Your child should apply to around nine different colleges to ensure they get a place they want. Take your time to review these colleges – and courses – to make sure it really is something your child is interested in, rather than just ticking a box. Your child will also be asked why they want to attend that particular college, so help your child define valid reasons that won’t fall flat.
- Keep their social media clean
If your child has a damning photo or statement on their Facebook or Twitter account, this could torpedo their application. Even if they have an impeccable academic record, a full list of extracurricular activities and possess all the qualities a college is looking for. So while not prying, do emphasise to your child how important this is, and ask them to clean up their social media accounts.
Take these factors into account, and hopefully you will soon be helping them to pack and get ready for the big move to their college of choice.