5 Things to Ask Before Your Child Begins the College Admissions Process

  • College Prep
5 Things to Ask Before Your Child Begins the College Admissions Process
  1. Will the counseling office/guidance counselor work to help students discover their “right-fit” college or university? This means finding a college that aligns with the student's goals, personally, academically, and professionally. The college will have the academic offerings that offer meaningful growth in the areas that are relevant to the student’s career aspirations. Along with your student, the high school counselor should aim to develop a list of schools that align with a student’s academic profile as well as the personality, philosophy, and extracurricular characteristics each student needs to fulfill their own personal and professional growth. 

  2. Does the high school have full-time, professional college counselors? Students should look to be connected to a specific college counselor in their junior year and meet with counselors on an individual basis to develop a strong and supportive relationship. Check to see if the college counselors are connected to networks of College Admission professionals through involvement in any national or local organizations, such as, National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC), or the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools (ACCIS).

  3. Do colleges and universities come to the high school to meet students? Each fall, high schools should be welcoming different college representatives who visit to meet with students and counselors. Every college representative should be given the chance to update the counselors and students with the information that is important about their programs and admissions process. The high school counselors can also take the time to explain the opportunities and depths that their students can pursue through various academic curriculum and distinction programs. 

  4. Will you help students and parents navigate the college search and application process? Every college and university has different requirements for what they need from an applicant, different admission decision plans, deadlines, and options for students to support their candidacies. Determine if the high school counselors will help students and parents understand each part of the process so they can put forth their strongest applications - Will someone help students craft and refine their personal and supplemental essays, keep track of deadlines and requirements, and put together portfolios and other required supporting documents like transcripts and letters of recommendation? Will the counselors partner with parents to keep students on track with deadlines, address the questions that are most relevant to parents, and help parents support their student along the way? How familiar are the counselors with all different types of application systems? The counseling office should have access to technological systems designed to facilitate the application process as smoothly as possible.

  5. Is your school a test center? Some high schools are registered test centers for SAT, ACT or TOEFL. Some also administer the PSAT to all sophomores and juniors as a chance to prepare and practice for standardized tests. Additionally, some counseling offices work with academic offices to administer AP examinations. Being able to take standardized tests in a familiar environment can help reduce the stress and anxiety that is often associated with these exams. Any additional convenience or comfort your student can find on tests days will always be in their best interest!

Why is it important to ask these questions? There are a lot of different options and pathways to college acceptance. It is important that your family has the support that will be meaningful in helping you accomplish your student's goals. The process can be different for every family, and even different for each child. Understanding the resources and processes each office has to offer can help your student navigate their search effectively.

College Counseling at Perk   Download the College Counseling Handbook for HS Students

By David Antoniewicz, Director of College Counseling, Perkiomen School

David is the President of the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling (PACAC). A graduate of Susquehanna University, Antoniewicz began his career in higher education in 2006, and made the transition to independent schools in 2016. At Perkiomen, Antoniewicz is also head boys’ lacrosse coach and leads a team of two full-time dedicated college counselors. 

Our goal is to help guide students to the right-fit college after Perkiomen. Our success as college counselors is knowing that our students are going to the colleges and universities that will ensure that they continue to risk becoming their best.David Antoniewicz