Help! My child is in high school. What should we be doing to prepare for college?

It’s that time of year again! Fall always brings a mix of excitement and anxiety for students and parents alike. With new routines, opportunities, and challenges on the horizon, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. You may find this especially true if you are the parent of a high school student. It’s a critical time to plan for the future, and you want to support your teen as best you can.

At The Adelson School, our Path to College removes some of the stress for high school students and their families. Beginning in eighth grade, we lead students on a purposeful path to identifying their future goals, narrowing down a list of best-fit colleges, and creating strong applications for admission. The goal is to take intentional steps throughout high school, avoiding a stressful sprint during the fall of senior year.

Here are a few of those important steps:

Step 1 — Choosing the Right Schedule

High school shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all experience. When students can tailor their schedules with classes and activities that align with their interests, they thrive. At the Adelson School, we help students chart their high school path beginning in eighth grade so they are fully prepared to take advantage of all the opportunities around them in ninth grade and beyond. Academic coursework is differentiated by level: College Prep, Honors, and Advanced Placement. Various electives and co-curricular activities enrich the experience and motivate students to pursue their goals in and out of the classroom.

Step 2 — Taking Advantage of AP Courses

AP courses are not just for juniors and seniors — opportunities begin in ninth grade!  At Adelson, students have more than 15 AP course options, including:

  • Computer Science Principles
  • Human Geography
  • Government
  • Literature
  • Physics
  • Spanish
  • Calculus

AP courses allow students to get a jumpstart on their college careers and submit competitive applications to their top-choice schools.

Step 3 — Exploring What’s Ahead

Students (and parents) can easily feel overwhelmed about all that needs to be done between ninth and twelfth grade, which is why it’s crucial to plan ahead and get important events on your calendar. Personalized counseling is key for staying on track. At Adelson, students are actively mentored each year as they schedule college admission tests, practice resumé writing, explore career paths, and learn how to secure scholarships and financial aid. In addition to highly individualized college counseling, we host a variety of topical seminars, college previews and virtual tours, and introductions to summer programs that help students continue to develop their strengths and define future goals. 

Ready to discover how Adelson can help your teen plan ahead? 

Download our Parent Info Packet for an overview of our High School program.

Step 4 — Preparing for Entrance Exams

During the pandemic, many universities became “test optional,” but data indicates that students submitting strong test scores still attain a leg up in the admissions process. At Adelson, freshmen take the PSAT for the first time in October, and sophomores and juniors participate in PSAT/SAT prep courses ahead of their scheduled tests. We invite parents to meet with their student’s college counselor to discuss results and plan a curriculum. 

Above & Beyond

Through our partnership with Bullseye Prep – founded and taught by a “perfect 1600 scorer” – all sophomores and juniors are offered a no-cost bootcamp of PSAT and SAT test prep at school. The bootcamp is followed up with a full quarter of online practice and two full practice test experiences to prepare students for their official test date. Objective data shows that our efforts produce stellar results by boosting our students’ scores on the PSAT and SAT by an average of 200 points. No other high school provides this investment in all its students, but the results are clear: Adelson’s average SAT score is 1320, with our top tier students scoring in the 1500s and multiple students per grade level attaining National Merit status (commended, semifinalist, or finalist).

Step 5 — Honing Writing Skills

Resumés, cover letters, admissions essays — oh my! If your teen is overwhelmed by the writing process, they will likely need strong support to prepare for college. Adelson’s application workshops and essay-writing sessions make these tasks a little less daunting for high school students, walking them through the writing process and assisting with editing. Our dedicated writing tutors work with students individually to ensure their application materials are strong while helping them develop the skills needed to thrive in college-level courses. These services also equip students with the professionalism needed to take on jobs and internships which require strong written and verbal communication.

Step 6 — Seeking Tangible Experience 

Whether studying abroad or serving in a leadership role on campus, high school students need hands-on learning experiences, and colleges actively recruit those who have sought out such opportunities. At Adelson, these exist not only to prepare students for college, but also to help them discover their unique gifts and talents while developing evergreen life skills. Whether your student is playing an instrument as part of our band, participating in a community service project, or involved in an internship related to their career goals, they will build a strong foundation for college success. 

Adelson students are exceptionally well-prepared to enter and succeed in excellent universities, with recent graduates attending Stanford, Yale, USC, Emory, MIT, Washington University, and the U.S. military academies.

Ready to Take the Next Step in Your College Prep Journey?

Learn more about The Adelson School today.