September: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Welcome back to school! It’s a new year with new challenges — academically, socially, and artistically. To help you adjust and adapt, examine future goals so that courses can be chosen to complement those goals and serve as good prerequisites for college. Explore all of your skills in the arts, and plan for extracurricular activities as well, allowing flexibility for new or growing interests. Taking control of all your options in high school can help build the confidence you need for success!

Freshman Arts Students — Get to know your guidance counselor. 

And let them get to know you and your interests. Your counselor is ready and more than willing to help you make sense of your college and career options. Your grades appear on official transcripts starting this year, so take your work seriously and explore your interests. As soon as you can, set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future.

Freshman Parents — Offer support and guidance. 

The initial weeks of high school can be a difficult adjustment. Keep an open dialogue about how classes are going. Make sure that your student has connected with the guidance counselor, and you should do the same. If your child has particularly strong academic interests, encourage them, but don’t lose focus on strengthening areas of weakness that can’t be ignored, such as English or algebra. If your child is struggling, now is the time to get a handle on it. Or, if the work seems too easy, talk to the school about placing your child in a more advanced classroom setting.

October: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

The school year is still new, so it’s a great time to look ahead and plan ahead. Remember that your academic and performing or visual arts choices in high school should serve your longer-term goals as you prepare for college and beyond. Keep in mind that no matter what decisions you’ve made, or are about to make, you may want to refine your selections as you develop and grow. Stay focused, and at the same time, stay open to exploring new areas at all times!

Freshman Arts Students — Plan for the next 4 years. 

Prepare to lay the foundation for your high school career. This is the time to establish your academic and extracurricular credentials and begin to explore options for further education and a career. Your guidance counselor is there to help you make sense of your college and career options. As soon as you can, set up a meeting to talk about your plans for high school and the future. Your counselor can help to make sure you’re enrolled in the appropriate college-prep classes.

Freshman Parents — Plant the seeds now. 

Encourage your child to start exploring career goals so that courses can be chosen to complement those goals and serve as good prerequisites for college. Sit down with your teen and the course listings to agree on an academic plan for the classes your child should take in high school. Lay out preliminary plans for extracurricular activities as well, allowing flexibility for new interests to develop. Naturally, you’ll want to consult with the school guidance counselor to help with all of the planning.

November: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Thanksgiving and the holiday season are fast approaching, and the school year is suddenly beginning to fly by. As a student of the visual or performing arts, this is your cue to take these next few weeks to get your projects, assignments, applications, essays, auditions, and portfolios in order. It’s a lot to handle, but it doesn’t have to feel overwhelming — simply give your full attention to one thing at a time. Enjoy the holiday, and remember to give thanks for all of your educational opportunities! 

Freshman Arts Students — Get involved. 

Extracurricular activities are an important part of high school even if some of them are not school sponsored. Make a real effort to get involved with groups, clubs, or teams that interest you. These activities can be fun and they go a long way to help make you a well-rounded student.

Freshman Parents — Help your child branch out. 

Freshman year is a great time to explore. Encourage involvement in a variety of activities both in and out of school. Give your child the freedom to seek out his or her comfort level as well as how much time can be dedicated without having a negative impact on schoolwork.

December: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

It’s just about time for the winter break and the holidays. Family and friends, who haven’t seen us in a while, will likely ask what we’re up to, and that’s a good thing because it’s the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves the same question. This is a great time to take stock to see if we’re on course to reach our academic and arts goals. Some of us may find that we need to take a step back and better define those goals. So take a little time to get on track and have a great holiday!

Freshman Arts Students — Connect with friends & family. 

Winter break is a great chance to get together and spend time with friends and family. These are the people you trust most, so ask to hear about their high school and college experiences and for any advice they can offer related to your interest in the arts. Enjoy the good company and have a great time with any activities you choose to do together.

Freshman Parents — Open the dialogue. 

Keep up regular conversations with your child about his or her academic progress. Make sure the course levels and the grade levels are appropriate. If not, your student may need help to establish better study habits or create a more conducive study environment. If needed, work together to develop an improvement plan and keep in mind that encouragement is the best motivation.

January: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Happy New Year! Welcome to the monthly guide designed to help students of the arts with simple, step-by-step college preparation tips. As we make our new-year resolutions, it’s the perfect time for high school students to re-commit to pursuing the dream.

Freshman Arts Students — Plan for an exciting, new phase. 

You’ve been wondering what high school would be like. Well, if it’s not yet what you hoped it would be, make a commitment to take the steps that will get you there. Explore and seek guidance from counselors, teachers, parents, and students who have been in your shoes. This is your time. Make it great!

Freshman Parents — Demonstrate commitment. 

As caring parents, we want the best for our kids, so we offer advice… and a lot of it. That’s okay, but if we truly want to get through and make a lasting impact, our actions speak loudest. So in the spirit of making resolutions, let’s pay special attention to following through on what we say we’re going to do. Because when we don’t pay attention, our kids do.

February: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

When the winter term is in full force, spring and summer can feel very far off, but don’t be deceived by the time of year. Keep up the pace and prepare for the not-so-distant future.

Freshman Arts Students — Be open to new areas. 

This is the time to explore your interests as well as areas you’ve never even thought about. All of it can eventually have a large impact on your career and your life. Discuss your skills and interests with your guidance counselor and take advantage of guests artist opportunities at your school.

Freshman Parents — Be open to change. 

High school is a time for students to explore new arenas and interests. So give them some leeway, and encourage your child to venture out. Watch to see if they’re blossoming or if they could use some guidance in pursuing new directions.

March: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

March is a month of transition. While the seasons are changing, students are growing. As winter turns to spring, simple steps can help budding performing and visual arts students blossom.

Freshman Arts Students — Start your achievement file. 

Keep track of academic, extracurricular, and arts awards, community service achievements, and anything else you participate in. It will come in handy when you want to highlight your accomplishments on college applications or your resume.

Freshman Parents — Support student participation. 

Help your child begin keeping an activities record that lists participation in activities as well as accomplishments, awards, and leadership positions. Be sure to keep up regular conversations with your child about his or her academic progress.

April: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Spring break is over, and we’re entering the home stretch of the school year. Every step can be a difference maker for visual and performing arts students in the search for the right schools, scholarships, and financial aid packages.

Freshman Arts Students — Start learning about college. 

Yes, it’s true that you just started high school, but this is the time to begin thinking about where you want to be after high school. Look at the college information available in your guidance counselor’s office. Spend a little time checking out college websites. Use college search tools and view college profiles. You may even want to start a list of colleges that might interest you.

Freshman Parents — Connect your student with a college student. 

Often, the best way to introduce a high school student to college is by having them hear about it first hand. So if you happen to have a friend, neighbor, or relative who is in college and doing well, it may be a good idea to have them share their experience. It will help get your student thinking about what they need to do to prepare for their own college career.

May: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Yes it’s true, summer will actually be here next month, and we’ll all be planning for the next school year. For high school students of the arts who want to take their craft to the next level in college, a little monthly college prep advice can go a long way. Many performing and visual arts students and parents are following simple steps to help navigate the complexities of the college admissions process.

Freshman Arts Students — Begin to get a feel for college life. 

Visiting friends or relatives who live on or near a college campus is a great way to get a sense of what college is like. Check out the dorms, go to student center, library, arts building, and walk around the campus. You don’t need to worry about where you want to go — just have fun and get a feel for the college environment.

Freshman Parents — Take a little college road trip. 

It may seem like a long way off, but college is coming fast. Now is the perfect time to introduce your student to life after high school. You don’t have to go too far. Just pick two or three schools that offer a variety of styles and flavors. Take a casual walk through the campus, and let your child take in the student life. Most importantly, be sure to let your child enjoy the process in a fun and relaxed manner.

June: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Didn’t the school year just begin? It really does go that quickly, so do what you can to finish strong and begin planning for the coming year. Just remember, as you look ahead to the summer and beyond, enjoy the moment and appreciate all of the hard work that got you to this point. And keep in mind that each small step you take now will payoff in terms of setting the stage for the best possible college experience (and literally setting the stage for performing artists).

Freshman Arts Students — Make your summer count. 

Naturally, the summer break from school is the perfect time for fun and relaxation. But, there are plenty of ways to have fun and build your credentials as well during the summer, such as volunteering, getting a job, or signing up for an arts enrichment program.

Freshman Parents — Make adjustments for the year ahead.

Together, with your student, review and evaluate the comprehensive academic program and activities record started earlier in the school year, make any necessary changes, and update accordingly for the coming year. Encourage your child to continue to explore his or her talents in the arts.

July: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

Summer break is officially here, and it should be fully enjoyed. At the same time, with a few key steps, you can take advantage of the break to help set you up for success in the upcoming semester and well into your college years. For high school arts students who are in the midst of college preparation, you can accomplish plenty this summer and have a great time doing so.

Freshman Arts Students — Summer activities go a long way. 

There are a lot of ways to build your credentials and have fun at the same time this summer, such as volunteering, getting a full or part-time job, or signing up for an enrichment program. So don’ let the summer go by without making it count.

Freshman Parents — Read from the reading list. 

Now that summer is here, make sure your student has a summer reading list that will help with the academic transition to 10th grade. You may want to read what your student is reading to encourage interest and discussion. Finalize any other summer plans that may have been in development.

August: College Prep Timeline For The Arts

As we approach the final weeks of summer, anticipation is in the air for the school year ahead. By spending just a little time each month identifying your objectives, planning ahead, and taking action, you’ll be impressed by how much you can accomplish over the course of the entire school year. Whether you’re about to enter your freshman year in high school or in college, this is an exciting time in your life, so fulfill your goals one step at a time and enjoy the journey!

Freshman Arts Students — Discuss college savings. 

Talk to your parents about planning for college expenses. If your family has set up a savings plan for you, continue to add to it whenever possible. If not, there’s never a better time to start saving for college than now. You and your parents can use an online financial planning calculator to help assess the current savings situation and plan for the future.

Freshman Parents — Talk about financial participation. 

Now that your student is in high school, it’s important that he or she understand financial roles and responsibilities. Exactly what that role entails is entirely up to you, depending on your personal situation. Whether circumstances call for monetary contributions or simply keeping a tight reign on expenses, now is a good time to clearly communicate the needs and expectations.