- Once your applications have been submitted, be sure to track the status online to ensure schools received all of your application materials. Follow up with your school counselor ASAP if a school is missing your transcript or a letter of recommendation. Make sure you sent official test scores if required. Check your JUNK/SPAM email folder regularly (daily) so you do not miss correspondence from schools.
- Meet with your school counselor and triple check that all early app materials were sent. Share your RD/ED II list and make sure they know to send docs accordingly and far in advance of deadlines.
- Work on your “interest letter” for your top choice school (or schools!) if you have decided to write one.
- If you’re applying regular decision (RD) to colleges (or have an ED II school in the mix), you should continue to make progress on your essays in case your early applications are denied or deferred in December. It is very difficult to write your essays and complete your applications from December 15 through January 1, and…
- It’s always a good idea to submit apps two to four weeks ahead of RD/ED II deadlines as some schools have early RD deadlines for scholarship or interview consideration. Aim to submit all RD/ED II apps by 12/1 for merit consideration, and by 12/21 otherwise.
- Prepare for interviews! Read our post here for more insight and prep questions.
- It is test prep time! Get a plan in place and stick to it.
- Meet with your school guidance counselor. They will write one of your letters of recommendation for college, and the letter will be much more personal if you know each other. Talk about your plans for this year and next year. Let them know about your preliminary college list, any visits you have scheduled, and your testing plan.
- Now is the time to build your story for college. Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities? Look for leadership opportunities in school and consider activities outside of school as well.
- For example, if you are planning to apply as a business or economics major, you should take the related modules on Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/economics-finance-domain
- If you are planning on a health- or medicine-related major, check out: https://www.khanacademy.org/science/health-and-medicine
- Visit the websites of the schools you are interested in. Explore the admissions and academics pages. Start to think about your major of interest and how your activities support this interest. If you are unsure about your major, keep exploring options. Don’t forget: you should be exploring your interests outside of the classroom/school.
- Visit colleges in person! Fall is a great time to visit colleges. Please note, there are not many students on college campuses during December/January, so plan accordingly.
- Some summer program applications will open over the next few months. If you plan on applying to an application-based summer program, put a note on your calendar to check websites for application deadlines and application releases.
Sophomores & Freshmen:
- Have you started your resume/activity sheet? If not, now is a great time to begin drafting it.
- An impressive academic record is the most important admissions factor at most colleges. How are your classes going? Are there any that have you thinking about possible fields of study (major/minor) in college? Start to take note of what you like and dislike, where you do well and where you are having difficulty.
- Beyond academics, colleges also look to admit students who take part in meaningful extracurricular activities. You don’t need to join every single club at school (that is a bad idea, actually, please do not do this!), but if you are not involved in any ECs in or out of school, now is the time to get involved. You want to take part in a few things and try to continue with those activities (if you enjoy them) throughout your high school career. One definite “must” is something that allows you to serve others and give back to your community.
- One of the biggest factors in strong performance on the verbal portions of the SAT and the ACT is independent reading. Enhancing your skills during high school will not only help you perform better on college entrance exams but also prepare you for success in college and beyond. Regular reading of articles and editorials (e.g., New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist) in addition to studying vocabulary lists and signing up for “Word/Article/SAT Question of the Day” can have an impact.
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