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It’s easy for parents to feel confused about college admissions. It keeps getting harder. It’s different from the process you went through. And clear guidelines are hard to find. “What’s the formula?” So many parents ask me this question, desperate for clear criteria. Well, help is on the way with this sample four-year high school timeline!

You might think, “This is excellent. I’ll just pass this along to my teen.” But wait one moment, efficient parent! This timeline is also for you. I wrote it with parents in mind, too, so that it can provide you with a framework for 21st-century admissions – an ever-changing landscape demanding more adult behavior from your child.

I like to say that there’s a difference between 20th- and 21st-century admissions. Instead of operating like a talent search locating “well-rounded” students with sports, an instrument, and volunteering hours (the 20th-century model), admissions now functions more like a mixture between a branding exercise and job interview.

These days, to become a successful applicant, students need to go well beyond their high school curriculum and cookie-cutter activities in order to show who they are and who they might become. How can your teen excel at the new admissions game?

Our sample timeline includes a list of month-by-month milestones for all four years of high school so you can get a detailed view of what needs to be accomplished every step of the way, starting in ninth grade. It covers every aspect of your child’s college planning journey, from time-management to summer planning to leadership. It will provide you with all the key milestones your child needs to meet to be on track for competitive admissions.

If you’re looking for the BIG PICTURE with all of the key details laid out for you, I think you will find this timeline very helpful. I certainly hope you do!

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About the Author: Amy Morgenstern

Dr. Amy Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, is the founder and CEO of Blue Stars Admissions Consulting. She holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice.

Free Workbook for Students

Blue Stars College Planning Foundations Workbook

Start today! Go through these strategic exercises to help you sketch out your plans for all four years of high school.

  • Learn key traits important to top colleges.
  • Write your first personal narrative
  • Branch out, exploring interests and defining activities.
  • Set goals and create your 4-year college planning timeline.

Fill out the form to get the workbook.

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