Does thinking about college for your high schooler stress you out? It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you look at your child’s future. Whether they are just starting high school or are entering their junior year, it’s never too early to start planning.

King’s High School is a private Christian high school in Shoreline, WA that offers students a college preparatory education in a caring environment, equipping them with tools they need to excel in college.

Help your student prepare for college with these steps for each grade level.


Create class schedule
Creating a class schedule that prepares your child for college requires planning and organization. Even as a freshman it is helpful for your child to choose classes with college in mind. Colleges like to see students challenge themselves academically. Have your freshman consider taking honors classes, foreign languages, and advanced-level math, science, and English courses.

Develop strong study habits
Creating strong study habits is essential for success in college. Here are a few ways to develop study habits that will prepare your student for the challenges of higher education. Encourage your child to schedule study time in a quiet place free of distractions. Focus is key when it comes to studying.  Organization will help your student ensure that work does not get missed. Teach them independence rather than doing it for them. Show your child how to stay organized by writing due dates in a planner. Lastly, students need to learn how to ask for help when needed. In college, professors are there to help but students must advocate for themselves. Throughout their freshman year, check in with your child to make sure they are on track with what you have taught them. If high school students can learn these skills as a freshman, they are more likely to succeed in developing positive habits before college.  

Engage in extracurricular activities
Colleges look for well-rounded students who are involved in extracurricular activities. Your child should join clubs, sports teams, and volunteer organizations to demonstrate their interests and skills outside of the classroom. At a Christian high school like King’s in Seattle, WA, there are several opportunities to get involved with activities outside of the classroom. Take a look at the extracurricular activities that are available at King’s High School.  


Connect with your child’s advisor
Schedule a meeting for both you and your child to meet with their advisor or counselor to discuss their academic goals and college aspirations. Their advisor can help them choose classes that align with their goals and ensure that they are on track to meet college admission requirements. 

Take the PSAT
Taking the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test) can be beneficial for high school sophomores for several reasons. The PSAT is great practice for the SAT because it identifies areas for improvement and provides feedback and guidance. Students want to do well when it comes to this standardized test because high scores often receive scholarships.  

Make the most of summer 
Summer is a great time to start researching potential career paths. There’s no better way for students to figure out if they’re interested in a career than to try it out for themselves through an internship or volunteer opportunities. They should think about choosing a place that can provide them with contacts or experience in their desired field instead of somewhere that will pay more. Networking and learning skills in the fields your student is interested in will have benefits that will stay with them as they go to college and beyond.


Focus on academics
Junior year is often considered the most important year in terms of academics and grades for several reasons. Your child’s junior year is typically the last full year of grades that colleges will see on their transcript before they apply. Colleges use student grades, particularly from their junior year, to assess their academic abilities and potential. Therefore, strong grades during junior year can have a significant impact on a student’s chances of getting into their desired college or university. 

Take the SAT/ACT
Taking the exam during junior year gives students time to retake it if necessary. If they wait until senior year to take the exam, it’s possible there will not be enough time to retake it before college application deadlines. Another benefit to taking these exams during the junior year of high school is it helps students plan for college. Test scores can be used to research colleges and universities that match students’ academic abilities and preferences. 

Research and visit colleges
Deciding where to go to college is a big decision and shouldn’t be left to the last minute. Researching and visiting colleges during the junior year of high school is important because it helps narrow down your student’s choices, plan their senior year, get a better sense of college life, and prepare for the college application process. Having a sense of where students want to go to college in their junior year will allow them to enjoy their senior year without the stress of planning for their future.  


Maintain a high GPA
It’s easy for students to check out academically during their senior year. Even if college applications have been submitted there is still great value in maintaining a high GPA during your last year of high school. Maintaining a high GPA as a senior is important for college admissions, scholarship opportunities, college readiness, and personal pride and achievement. It reflects academic abilities and can have a significant impact on future educational and career opportunities. 

Apply early
There are many benefits to applying early for college. One of the biggest benefits is that many colleges have early application programs that can increase your student’s chances of acceptance. These programs typically have higher acceptance rates than regular decision programs, as they demonstrate your student’s strong interest and commitment to the college. Applying early will also reduce levels of stress so both you and your child can focus on finishing senior year strong and making memories.  

Take advantage of the time you have left
It’s easy to be so focused on the next chapter of life, you forget to enjoy the present. Senior year of high school is filled with many “lasts” and opportunities students will never have again. Students should take advantage of the opportunity to make memories and build relationships with their peers. Allow your child moments to slow down and take a breath. Remind them not to be in such a rush for the next thing that they miss what is right in front of them.  

King’s High School approaches college and career advising from a “best fit” view that keeps student’s academic, social, emotional, and spiritual needs a priority. If you are looking for a college prep Christian high school that partners with you and your child, tour King’s High School in Shoreline, WA. Book a tour today!