CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - It seems like our kids just went back to school, but many are already thinking about college. Local high schools are helping students prepare for that next big step.
College application days are set aside in our schools over the next three months. It's a statewide initiative to encourage students to continue their education, especially since studies show higher education leads to greater success.
Several South Carolina colleges will send representatives to sit with your kids, answer their questions and help them apply. Some schools will even waive the application fee that day, which puts money back in your pocket.
One college planning to attend these events is Coastal Carolina University. The director of admissions says the next few months are crucial in the application process. Most students apply by December, but an early application, could work in your favor.
"You want to have your application reviewed in the best light possible and you want to have your application reviewed probably before those colleges are getting thousands of applications," said Director of Admissions at CCU Amanda Craddock. "Students are applying now, so it gives us more time to review those applicants, to really look at what they present to us and to communicate with them if we'd like to have additional information."
Application deadlines will be here before we know it and that's only the first step. All those steps that lead to higher education, your student has already begun climbing.
Craddock said a common misconception is that senior year isn't important; however, keeping grades up could set apart one student from the next.
"We're going to spend a lot of time on the transcript, we're going to look for students that are challenging themselves academically in high school, doing well, they've done their standardized tests," said Craddock.
This is part of the "whole package," which also includes clubs, honors and recommendations. This will help set you apart from the thousands that apply. Of those, CCU will accept about 65% of applicants.
When it comes to how many colleges you should apply to, the recommendation is six on average. It's important to take finances into account when applying, while keeping your options open. Experts say to always have a school that you know you're guaranteed to get into, apply to those that are well within that profile and then have a reach school because you never know what that applicant pool might look for.
Local colleges like CCU recommend calling with your questions. They also have resources for applicants and parents on their website.
There will be several college application days across the state. Here are some in our area:
Tuesday, September 23rd at Myrtle Beach High School. Parents and students can attend a cookout at 5:30 p.m., followed by the application process from 6:45-8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 1st at Socastee High School library. About five college representatives will be available from SC schools to help students complete online applications. Students can arrive during the school day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.