Things to Think about before College

Independent educational consultant Lisa C. Thomas walks you through what you need to know to be prepared.

Summer flew by, and now it’s that time again—the beginning of the school year. Getting ready can be stressful, especially for those planning for college. Whether you’re an anxious mom sending away your oldest child for the first time or an overwhelmed freshman too excited to think about the details, we have just the top 10 list for you, courtesy of Lisa C. Thomas, owner and president of College Admissions Training in Plymouth.

  1. A rigorous high school curriculum challenges the student and might include AP or IB classes.
  2. Grades that represent a strong effort and an upward trend. However, slightly lower grades in a rigorous program are preferred to all As in less-challenging coursework.
  3. Solid scores on standardized tests (ACT, SAT) should be consistent with high school performance.
  4. A well-written essay provides insight into the student’s unique personality, values and goals.
  5. Passionate involvement in a few in- or out-of-school activities: Commitment and depth are valued over minimal involvement in a large number of activities.
  6. Demonstrate leadership and initiative in extra-curricular activities. 
  7. Personal characteristics will contribute to a diverse and interesting student body.
  8. Demonstrated enthusiasm, often exhibited by campus visits and an interview, shows an interest toward attending the college if offered admission.
  9. Seek letters of recommendation from teachers and guidance counselors that give evidence of integrity, special skills, positive character traits and an interest in learning.
  10. Special talents can contribute to the college’s student life program. Colleges like to know what you intend to bring to campus, as well as what you’ll take from your college experience.

Lisa C. Thomas offers a free 30-minute consultation for ninth- through 12-graders and their families interested in her educational consulting services, in addition to seminars on a variety of college-related topics. She can be reached by calling 763.222.6520 or at