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The 3 Most Common Mistakes When Considering A College

admissions college college visits high school junior senior Apr 26, 2019

College Recruiting Specialists has partnered with Virteom to engage future college students, trade students, parents, and anybody looking to learn more about the getting into the college or university a student strives to attend.

In this video, Jacqui and Kelly talk about three costly mistakes when considering college: looking, applying and getting in. Watch or read the transcription below!

It's amazing how expensive college has become. It's easily a $100,000 investment, even at a state school. It's really important to be thinking ahead and planning.

What are those costly mistakes and how can I avoid them?


Most college visits begin during junior year of high school. People think it’s no big deal and they’re just going to go take a visit. But think about the fact that the typical college visit means you're meeting admissions. They hand you all of their shiny, fabulous marketing materials to get you hooked on the school. Then, they have a 19-year-old lead you around the campus.

A 19-year-old who may or may not know where your child is going to be taking their classes. They may be an English major and your student is potentially a biology major. “Where are the bio labs?” you ask on behalf of your scientific student. The guide replies, “Oh gosh I don't know. I think they're in that building over there.”

So, it's really important that when you're going to plan your college visits, it’s a good idea to plan a meeting with someone within the department of your student’s major or interest. That will be eye opening and enlightening for your student and for parents.

It allows you to see what types of things the college will be doing to help your child achieve their personal goals. That’s very important.


The second costly mistake that people make is not understanding how important standardized test scores are. Students often start way too late in planning their ACT or SAT. They wait until the high school offers it during spring semester of junior year.

Pre-planning for these tests is really important. I often encourage students during their sophomore year take the ACT to get a baseline. This does a couple things.

  • It lets them understand what types of questions they'll face. So, maybe the math they're learning in class becomes a little bit more important to the student now that they've seen it on the test.
  • It allows them to better understand how to take a test and how to manage the time.
  • It's not the same as a high school test. They're not going to just sit down and do well as they've always done in high school. It's a little harder than that due to the intentional structure of these tests.

The best thing you can do is take it early, get a baseline, and then being able to prep to improve their scores in the areas they need. There's nothing worse than when I get high school seniors in the office and their backs are really against the wall. They have to get a certain score the next time they take the test. You want to avoid wasting resources that are both costly in time and money, and cramming like this is not a great solution.

Plus, these tests can restrict what schools they can apply to. If they're still taking a standardized test during their senior year, they may be behind in qualifying for certain schools. August is prime time for many schools to receive applications. It’s very important to get that testing out of the way to align with the schools that are a good fit.


That brings us to our third costly mistake, it’s all about planning early. It's amazing to us because people often will spend 6-12 months planning a week-long vacation. Yet, we let kids plan a 40 year career and a 4-6 year college experience in their last year of high school.

You know, many only start their planning 6-8 months before graduating. Or right before senior year they're planning that. It's amazing. Everything in high school should be to prepare a student for that college experience. Not saying that everyone belongs at a 4-year college, but where do they belong? Additional training will be needed regardless, if you're going into the trades.

High school should be lending toward that intention. Where do we see ourselves? What do we need to do to prepare in planning that journey early?

College Recruiting Specialists makes it a lot less scary because we're able to hold your hand and walk you through it. Trust us, we’ve seen it all! You’ll know exactly when the timelines are, the deadlines, and you don't have to worry about missing things!

Planning for college involves a lot of moving parts and it can be very stressful. If you are worried about making some of these costly mistakes as you plan for your college experience or your students, give us a call today.