Applying to College

Your Child Can Go to College! A college education is more important than ever before. We are here to ensure that all of our students graduate from high school ready for college and the 21st-century workforce.

Families of Elementary and Middle School Students

  • Set high expectations for your child, tell them you believe they can graduate from high school and go to college.
  • Find information about colleges and careers together. You can go to the library and ask for books about college and careers.
  • Visit college and career websites to learn about different schools, jobs, and careers.
  • Ask your child’s school if there is any extra help your child can receive to get ready for high school.
  • Visit Colleges with your child. Your family can learn a lot about colleges by visiting them in person, you can also take online college tours offered by
  • Ask your child’s school if there is any extra help your child can receive to get ready for high school.

Families of High School Students

Continue doing the activities mentioned above and:

  • Talk to your child about their college and career dreams to help them plan for their future.
  • Ask your child, what is your dream career? Do you need a degree for your dream career?
  • To learn about what level of education your child will need for their career interest, visit our Exploring Future Careers page.
  • Make sure your child is taking challenging courses and doing well in school. Taking and passing difficult classes in math and science will prepare your child for college classes and the workplace.
  • Ask your child questions like these from to help them think about what they want to find in a college. Encourage your child to write down their answers and use their responses to talk to their school counselor. This will help your child to think about their future.
  • Make sure your child prepares for SAT or ACT exam. The SAT is a three-hour test created by The College Board, typically offered on specific Saturday’s during the school year. Most colleges and universities use the test to make admissions decisions. NYC offers the SAT exam to all students in their junior for free during the school day. Find out more about College Entrance Exams.
  • Plan more college visits also known as “campus tours” to help your child get ready for college and decide which college setting is right for them. Use the college’s website to set up a visit. Most of the time, college students lead the tours and they usually take about two hours. Take a list of questions like these from for you and your child to ask on the college tour.
  • Attend college fairs with your child. At a college fair, many different colleges come together to meet high school students. Ask your child’s school when the next college fair is and what colleges will be attending. Encourage your child to take a list of questions like these from U.S. News to the college fair. After the college visit or fair, ask your child about their experience.
    • What did you learn?
    • Does this college fit what you are looking for?
    • Do you want to apply to this college?

Help Your Child Decide Where to Apply (Grades 11-12)

  • Meet with your child’s school counselor to ensure your child is on track to graduate from high school and together help your child make a plan for when they graduate including, applying to college or a training program. Your child’s school counselor can help your child research colleges and find out about different options.
  • Help your child make a list of colleges and/or training programs beginning their spring semester of eleventh grade. Find out what is required to apply to the college or program. Encourage your child to make a list of schools in the following groups:
    • "Reach” schools (dream colleges that are hard to get into)
    • “Target” schools (colleges that are likely to admit your child); and
    • “Safety” schools (colleges that will definitely admit your child).
  • Help your child decide on colleges that have characteristics that are important to him or her and visit the colleges and programs on your child’s list, even if it is a second time. Revisiting the colleges on their list will help your child make definite decisions on where to apply.
  • Share the list with your child’s school counselor; ask for suggestions, and make sure your child applies to 8-15 colleges by December 1 of their senior year (twelfth grade).
  • Speak to your child’s counselor about fee waivers that help families apply to colleges for free. Make sure your child sends all supporting documents including essays, letters of recommendations, and transcripts to make sure their application is complete.

Applications are In! Now What?

Congratulations! Your child is now on the path to college. Next you need to start the financial aid process. All forms can be submitted as early as October 1. Learn more on our Paying for College page.

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