Rising seniors, have you already had multiple encounters with well-intentioned relatives and family friends, asking you too many questions about college that you do not have the answers for yet? This is a great time for you to take control of your college application process and continue on your journey to college.
The summer presents a great opportunity to get a jump-start on your planning and preparation. This will go a long way toward alleviating some of the pressure on you once you’re back at school, juggling applications along with school and extracurricular commitments.
REVIEW YOUR TEST PLAN
If you’re taking a test for the first time or considering retaking a test, look at the test schedules, choose your test date and take note of registration deadlines. If you’re thinking about applying early decision, confirm the last possible test date that will be accepted.
Begin by reading individual school websites— so much information is available online. Be sure to look at the admissions and financial aid sections and review academic programs, course offerings and majors. Learn about a school’s personality by getting information on clubs, extracurriculars, Greek life, and athletics. You can also find facts about the make-up of this year’s freshman class online. Look at blogs for helpful information and additional online resources.
Identify the type of college experience you’re looking for. Get familiar with the different types of colleges and universities and continue to develop your list. Campus visits are the best way to get a feel for a school and can help you to narrow down your choices. Current students and alumni are also great sources of information.
TALK TO YOUR PARENTS
Now is a good time to talk to your parents about how your family plans to pay for college. Also, be sure you’re all in agreement about how far from home is comfortable.
MEET WITH YOUR GUIDANCE COUNSELOR
If your guidance or college counselor is available this summer, schedule a meeting to strategize.
BEGIN YOUR APPLICATIONS
- Once the Common Application is available online on August 1st, start working on your application.
- Review the choice of essay topics on the Common App and essays required on individual school forms. Put together ideas and start work on your essays.
- If you’re planning to submit supplemental materials, required or optional, look into submission requirements and prepare over the summer while you have the time.
- Save and back up all your work. Remember to continue do so throughout your college admissions process.
- If your email address reflects some funny nickname or private joke you have with your friends, it’s time to set up a new one. Choose one that is appropriate and easy to read. This is part of the identity you’ll present to admissions officers.
- Take the time to jot down all your usernames and passwords for standardized tests, the Common App and specific schools in one place and keep this list near your computer for convenience.