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college readiness

Making the Most of Your Summer

Blog Type:  College Prep Date Posted:  Tuesday, May 16, 2017 Byline:  By Kerri Coen

Read more posts about Navigating the College Admissions Process for Students with Learning Disabilities. 

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Tips for Rising Seniors & Their Parents

Rising seniors will be busy this fall exploring many different post-secondary options. Students and parents can work together over the summer to prepare for this process—and make it less stressful once school starts. Take a look at these tips that will give your student a jump-start on post-graduation planning.

"Post-secondary education and transition should be a conversation, but not the only conversation!"


Set aside time to talk:

  • Make a plan to talk more in depth about the post-secondary planning process each week to make sure everyone is on the same page. Try to avoid discussing the topic up on a daily basis. Post-secondary education and transition should be a conversation, but not the only conversation!
  • Talk openly about your student’s interests, wants, and needs after high school. 

Set parameters that will help narrow the search:

  • ​​​​Is there a distance that the student and family are comfortable with?
  • Does the student prefer an urban, suburban, or rural environment?
  • How will school be financed? Does this influence the options?

Visit a variety of schools (size, geography):

  • Together, come up with a list of questions that are important for the student.
  • Make sure to visit the office of disability services. Most likely, this will not be a stop on the official tour. Students should arrange to visit or set up a separate meeting with the office.

Encourage your student to work on a draft of a personal essay if they have not yet started one:

  • Look at the Common Application prompts and see what one seems to fit. Try to return to school with a draft done so that you can begin the editing process.

Decide if ACT or SAT prep is right for the summer:

  • Are you applying to mostly test-optional schools?
  • Will test prep get in the way of other important opportunities?
  • Khan Academy is a great online resource that you can use for test prep on your own time.

Think about scheduling cognitive and achievement testing:

  • This needs to be done within three years of post-secondary enrollment in order for students to get accommodations in higher education.

Students should reach out to non-school personnel to ask for letters of recommendations. 

  • Summer Program teacher or a former supervisor are options. The letters will be easier to get now as opposed to waiting until the fall.

Make sure to have a summer activity:

  • Whether it's taking an art class, playing a sport, working, or traveling, students should spend some of their time in an activity that allows them to gain more independence and real-world experience.

Support your students through the process, but let them take the driver's seat.  This is great practice for the transition from high school to post-secondary education.

The world of college admissions

Looking to make your application stand out in a creative way? Check out Zeemee. Students can create their own personal profiles with pictures, videos, and bios. Some colleges will allow students to turn in their profiles with their applications.  


Check out Raise Me: Students can earn micro-scholarships to certain schools based on their everyday activities. These are optional components to applying to schools and are not for everyone.  If students want to pursue these options it will be up to them to manage them. For more resources, please check out Landmark School’s Office of Guidance and Transition’s page on the Landmark website.


About the Author:

kerri coen

Kerri Coen is a guidance counselor at Landmark High School.

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Tags:  college admissions college advice college readiness education transition to college

Important Things to Do Before Going to College

Blog Type:  College Prep Date Posted:  Friday, July 20, 2018

Read more posts about Navigating the College Admissions Process for Students with Learning Disabilities

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Now that you've decided what college you will attend, there are several things you need to do and consider to ensure a smooth transition process.

Learning Disability Support

  • Make sure the Disability Services Office has your current testing and all paperwork is completed.
  • Contact support services faculty and introduce yourself.

Sign Up for Classes

  • Think about taking a reduced course load, at least for the first semester.
  • Balance your course load. Be aware of the amount of reading and writing that will be required.

Think About Money

  • You will need access to cash at school. Make a plan. Is there a local ATM you can use? Will you set up an account at a local bank?
  • Discuss a budget and spending plan with your family.
  • Discuss financial responsibility with family and agree on who will pay for which expenses. (Who pays for weekend entertainment? Who pays for books? Who pays for gas?)

Medical Needs

  • Will you need regular medications at school? Develop a plan of how you will renew and fill any prescriptions.
  • Develop a plan to make sure you will remember to take your medications. Practice the plan over the summer.
  • Will you need medical specialists while at school? Talk to the school Health Center to make sure they have connections to local specialist that you will need.

Counseling Support

  • Will you need counseling support?
  • Discuss this with your current counselor and ask for their help in locating a local counselor.
  • Talk with the school about the counseling services on campus.


  • Decide which technology you will use and how you will use it.
  • Practice using any new technology.
  • Think about how you will organize your technology and documents.

Set Up a Reference Notebook

Collect key reference and "How To" sheets and templates and organize into a Reference Notebook. This can include:

  • How to write a note card
  • Steps to a research paper
  • Format of a thesis
  • Essay templates
  • Study guide sheets
  • Graphic organizers

Update Your Contacts

  • Make sure you have contact information for important people at home. This can include grandparents, former teachers, employers, and others.
  • Make sure the Guidance Office is on your contact list.
  • A hand-written thank you note still makes an impression. Purchase a pack of notes and stationery and use them often!

Don’t Forget

  • Make a list of key people.
  • Develop a list of important dates, such as parents, grandparents, and sibling birthdays, and get in the habit of sending a card and making a call on those days!
  • Life will get busy. Schedule a weekly time when you and your parents will talk.

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