The first days of summer will soon be here. While it’s easy to get caught up in the sun and fun, remember this is also a great time to move forward with your college planning. Take advantage of the break so you’ll feel less pressure while juggling applications along with school work and extracurricular commitments in the fall.
Rising seniors, we’re sure relatives and friends have been asking you too many questions about college that you don’t have the answers for yet. Summer is the perfect time for you to take control of your search and application process, and continue on your path to college.
Review Your Test Plan: If you’re taking the ACT, SAT and/or SAT Subject Tests for the first time or considering retaking an exam, look at the schedules, choose your test date and take note of the registration deadlines. If you’re thinking about applying early decision, confirm with each school the last possible test date they’ll accept.
Research Colleges: There are many ways you can become familiar with your options. Look at school websites. Review the admissions and financial aid sections, and research academic programs, course offerings and majors. Get to know a school’s personality by reading about clubs, extracurriculars, Greek life and athletics. You can find facts about the make-up of this year’s freshman class online. Blogs also offer helpful insights and provide additional online resources for you to use. Learn about the different types of colleges and universities to figure out what type of college experience you’re looking for. Start making your list and try to visit because this is the best way to get a feel for a school and narrow down your choices. Also, seek out current students and alumni to get an insider’s view.
Talk To Your Parents: Your parents know you best so share your thoughts with them and get their feedback. Talk about your academic interests, how far from home feels comfortable and what type of environment you think is right for you. Now is also a good time to talk to your parents about how your family plans to pay for college.
Meet With Your Guidance Counselor: If your guidance or college counselor is available this summer, schedule a meeting to strategize. Things to cover include:
· Your fall test schedule
· Your preliminary college list
· Your choice of recommenders
· Your essay ideas
Begin Your College Applications: Once college applications are available later this summer and the Common Application is online on August 1st, start working on them. Review the essay choices on the Common App and on individual school applications, put together ideas and begin writing.
If you’re planning to submit required or optional supplemental materials, such as a writing sample, a research paper, an art portfolio or an audio recording, look into submission requirements and start getting everything ready.
Edit Your Online Profile: 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’s appropriate and easy to read. This is part of the identity you’ll present to admissions officers. Teachers writing your letters of recommendation, guidance counselors, coaches, potential college roommates and future employers may also be looking at your online profile.
Get Organized: Organization is key to a successful college application process. Here are a few helpful tips that will save you lots of time and aggravation:
· Save and back up all your work. Remember to continue do so throughout your college admissions process.
· 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.