As South Florida families begin a new school year, the College Counselors of Divine Savior Academy are diligently working to prepare DSA’s first high school graduating class (2013) for the world of college. With over 3,500 different colleges and universities in this country alone, this choice is often a daunting task for families. Mr. Tom Welch, M. S. E., and DSA’s new College Counseling Director, brings over 16 years of experience in this field and offers key advice for families with high school students.
Firstly, it is never too early to evaluate your financial situation and start making plans. Collect all of the information you can, including tuition costs, possible scholarships, and financial aid availability. During this process, keep in mind that good students have many different opportunities to help them find the money to pay for college.
With an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is also imperative for students to prepare themselves both inside and outside of the classroom, so that they will not only have a successful high school career, but also qualify themselves for the best college opportunities. This is accomplished not merely by earning high grades, but by also succeeding in tough, college-prep classes and scoring well on standardized tests. Colleges are also more interested in well-rounded students that have solid academic backgrounds, extracurricular achievements, and community involvement.
It is important to spend time investigating, comparing, and evaluating potential schools. Be sure that your interests and strengths are a good fit for that institution before you spend time, energy, and money going through the application process. Once you have your list of desired schools, prepare yourself to make the best impression as a candidate for admission. This includes studying and practicing for interviews, visiting the campus, creating a well-written application essay, compiling strong recommendations, and consistently marketing yourself to the admissions department.
Finally, after acceptance, decide where to enroll. Many factors effect this decision, including academic programs offered, reputation, location, size, student diversity, financial aid availability, and campus life. This important decision is often a first step toward independence. For this reason, the decisions made during these years will greatly impact a student’s future professional opportunities.
Divine Savior Academy’s comprehensive college counseling program assists families by guiding them throughout this process. Though families may feel overwhelmed at times, it’s reassuring for them to know they are given the information and assistance they need to achieve their goals.