July 4th has come and passed, summer activities are in full swing, and your kids are away at camp or just busy with other summer activities. Let’s face it, the last thing they probably want to think about is the high school search.
But you know that the high school admissions clock is ticking, and every week and month that goes by is precious. So is there anything you can do to make progress on the search without interfering with your kids’ summer experience?
Absolutely. There is no reason why you can’t make some progress during the summer months – even if your kids are checked out until September. And don’t be fooled – as I’ve said many times before, the high school process starts well before 8th grade, even before 7th grade. But I digress.
Here are just some things you can accomplish over the summer:
- Attend the high school admissions events hosted by the Department of Education. I especially recommend the specialized high school sessions, where you can hear directly from those elite schools.
- Get familiar with the major high school publications – the high school directory and specialized high schools student handbook (if you don’t have them, get them at an event or on the DOE website). Make note of school selection criteria (what are they looking for and what do they require?), school admissions priorities, and other key concepts and strategies.
- Establish a high school calendar and notebook, where you can keep close track of events, notes, research, etc. (ideally with your child!) Start blocking off the major dates and events for the fall. Bonus if you start blocking off time dedicated to the high school search.
- Develop some kind of schools list – especially if your child has not. If there are fewer than 12 school programs on the list over the summer, your list is already too small. Remember, ultimately you want as many programs as you are possibly willing to consider up to 12 on your final list.
- Visit some school neighborhoods, especially for some of the lesser known schools on your list. Yes, school is out, but you can still benefit just by visiting the area, especially if you use mass transportation to estimate travel time. As your school counselor will preach, you must know where schools are and how long it will take each day during rush hour.
- Use as many resources as possible to conduct research, and don’t rely just on the high school directory. Remember, the schools write much of the information on their pages themselves. Yes, it’s a sales piece. One of the best sources of information is other families or students who have firsthand knowledge of the school – keeping in mind that what’s best for them is not necessarily best for your child.
- Finally, understand that while you are doing all these things, your child is still the ‘captain’ of your team and must feel that way. Do everything you can to empower them in the process and offer recommendations rather than edicts. Be careful not to present any information to them without genuinely seeking their input. Yes, you are the parent, but unless they feel like they are part of the process and actually are, there will be a higher risk of an uncomfortable outcome and school experience for everyone.
More on making the best use of the summer months in the weeks to come!
P.S. Summer is also the perfect time for a complimentary phone consultation to see how we can help YOU and your child with a personalized plan that can help you save time, aggravation, and improve your outcome.
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