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Learn the Critical Step Most Students Skip when Applying to College

The college application process goes from 0 to 60 junior spring. My students are always shocked by the onslaught of college prep work once junior year starts. Most high schools don’t really start talking to students about colleges until junior spring. Suddenly, students and parents are overwhelmed with PSAT, SAT vs ACT, AP courses, college selection, college visits, along with their normal classroom and extracurricular activities.

With so much happening, it’s really easy to just do what your high school counselor recommends. But I’m going to share a tactic that 90% of guidance counselors don’t even mention.

Get a Sponsor

College visits are the perfect time to research schools and find sponsors. Getting a sponsor at your dream school is a lot easier than you think. And that sponsor could be the difference between seeing your child open that big Congratulations! envelope or consoling them after a tiny We regret to inform you… letter.

Just follow these simple steps to make the most out of your college visits and get those sponsors:

  1. Do research from your couch. Sponsors can be professors, coaches, or anyone who is in a position to speak to admissions on your behalf. Start a list today for each school you’re planning to visit. Include coaches for any sports you’re interested in playing in college. Check out the professors in the department you want to major in. Are any of them doing research that interests you? Include email addresses for each potential sponsor to make the next step even easier.
  2. Start reaching out to potential sponsors. If anyone in your life can help you with this, Ask! Your parents, teachers, coaches, and professors you work with can all help you in making those connections. Parents – see if anyone in your network knows people at your child’s dream school. Send a simple email that tells them why you’re interested and asks if they’re available for a quick chat during your visit.
  3. Schedule a meeting. It’s always great to meet face to face with your sponsors. You can express to them how excited you are about the school. Plus, get lots of great information and compelling anecdotes to include in your application essays. Follow up your intro email with a simple email with three options for meeting during your visit. These sponsors are busy so shoot for a 15-minute session.
  4. Make the most of your session. Parents can attend or not. If it’s a coach, it’s pretty typical for a parent to attend. Come up with some questions ahead of time. They should demonstrate how you can help the sponsor. Remember to follow-up with a thank you email to everyone you met. Take some notes so you can remember any good tidbits for your essays next fall.

Now go and start your list today. If you’re looking for more help with the application and getting into elite colleges, get my Ultimate Guide to the Common App today!

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