February Action Plan – By Grade

 

Recommendation of the Month:

Take an early college tour via CampusReel. Visiting campus in person is great, but you won’t be able to tour all of the schools on your initial list. Plus, formal campus tours can be a bit limiting! CampusReel is one of my favorite ways to get a real insider look at colleges.

 

Seniors:

• Once your applications have been submitted, be sure to track the status of each app online to ensure all of your application materials were received. Follow up with your school counselor ASAP if a college is missing your transcript or a letter of recommendation. Check your junk email folder regularly (daily), so you do not miss correspondence from colleges.
•  Interviews! Sign up for interviews for all of your RD schools as soon as possible (where available/and if still open), if you have not done so already.
• For RD schools, consider writing interest letters to go out early this month—no later. If you have defer letters that need to go out, get those out ASAP, too.

 

Juniors:

• Keep prepping for standardized tests (ACT, SAT, SAT Subject tests) and working hard in all of your classes; your grades this year are very important.
• Do you know what major(s) you will mark on your application? Do you have a clearly defined “story” for your college apps? This is a critical part of your application that should be determined now.
• Continue working on your resume. Some summer programs, internships, and interviewers may ask for this, so it’s useful to have it handy.
• Next summer is a wonderful opportunity to do something really meaningful, perhaps even fun, that will help you tell your story for college! Get those plans in place now.
• Meet with your school counselor about your preliminary college list and go over your goals and plans for college visits.
• Speaking of college visits: Are you going to sit in on a class? Do you want to meet with someone in your intended department of interest (major, minor, etc.), or a current student? Not all schools offer formal pathways to these opportunities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them happen; this all falls under what I call ‘extended research/outreach’ and it can be highly beneficial. **After visits, even if you only attend a general info session and take a tour, please send your regional rep and any admission representatives you met a follow-up/thank you email** This opens a line of communication with someone at the school, and demonstrates interest. I also recommend keeping a document with any notes and observations from your visits. These notes will come in handy when writing supplemental essays and/or when writing a deferral letter, or letters of interest.
• Some colleges open up their on-campus interviews this spring. If you plan to interview on an upcoming visit, please prepare. You should always prepare for interviews, even if a school states they are not evaluative.
• Start to think about your senior year schedule. Do you know what you will be taking? Your senior classes should be the most challenging of your four years.

 

Sophomores:

• An impressive academic record is the most important admissions factor at most colleges. Work on creating smart study habits this year.
• Will you be taking SAT Subject Tests this spring or starting your SAT or ACT prep this spring/summer? Begin to decide on a testing schedule and plan for prep now.
• Do you know what major(s) you will mark on your application? Do you have a clearly defined “story” for your college apps as it pertains to your academic interest(s)? This is a critical part of your application that you can and should be determining now.
• Many 2019 summer program applications are now open. Please begin thinking about your plans for summer 2019 and work on applications if needed.
• Start to think about next year’s course schedule. Do you know what you will be taking? Your classes next year should be more challenging than this year.
• Work on your resume!

 

Freshmen:

• An impressive academic record is the most important admissions factor at most colleges. How are your classes going? Think ahead to next year’s course schedule, and work on creating smart study habits this year.
• Many 2019 summer program applications will open soon. Please begin thinking about your plans for summer 2019 now so you can get ahead of deadlines and work on applications if needed.
• Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities? Have you thought about what you might want to major in? Think about ideas for new and different activities or how to get more involved in your favorite activity (academic and non-academic); exploration now will help you begin determining what you might want to study in college. A great place to start exploring your academic interests is Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org.
• One way that your “story” is conveyed in your app is through your resume. Keep working on yours this month.

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

5 Action Items for High School Juniors

We’ve seen too many students wait until the summer after 11th grade to try to develop and implement the strategies needed to tackle the college application process successfully and with ease. Often, there is just not enough time to do the pre-work that results in the most effective essays, outreach, and positive admissions outcomes.

The best time to start prepping to apply? Now. Seriously!

Juniors, right now you can:

  • Develop relationships with admissions officers and regional reps (the people that make key decisions on your application) as well as current students and faculty (ask us why these connections are so important)
  • Create a testing plan that has you ready for apps due on 11/1 and not taking tests last minute
  • Make the best of campus visits and leverage contacts at colleges on these visits
  • Craft a preliminary college list that maximizes the 5+ application plans colleges now use
  • Open up a Common Application account to get familiar with the system

We hate seeing the second half of junior year go to waste. Email us to discuss what you can do now to always stay a step—or three—ahead of the game.

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

December Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Sorbonne Université

Seniors:

  • 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.
  • Do the schools on your list require midterm grade reports? Check requirements online and talk to your school counselor about having them sent to colleges as needed. Also, re-share your RD list and make sure they know to send docs accordingly and far in advance of deadlines.
  • It can be very difficult to write your essays and complete your applications from December 15 through January 1 because of the holidays, and…
  • It’s always a good idea to submit apps two to four weeks ahead of RD/ED II deadlines as some schools have earlier than normal deadlines for scholarship or interview consideration.
  • Continue to prepare for interviews.

Juniors:

  • Grades from your junior year are incredibly important to college admissions officers. Study hard. If you need help, seek it out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Some summer program applications will open over the next few months. Work on summer applications that are now open.
  • If you have not started compiling your resume, start drafting one over the holidays.
  • Think ahead to potentially starting your personal statement.

Sophomores & Freshmen:

  • 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?
  • Now is the time to build your story for college! Have you gotten more involved with any of your extracurricular activities? Have you thought about what you might want to major in? A great place to start exploring is Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org.
  • One way that your “story” is conveyed in your app is through your resume, so start compiling one over the holidays.
  • Many 2019 summer program applications will open soon. Begin thinking about your plans for summer 2019 now so you can get ahead of deadlines and work on applications if needed.
  • Have a dream school? Check out their website to get a sense of what it takes to get admitted. For example, some schools require or highly recommend you take a language all four years of high school and, for certain majors, take a certain level of math. Some schools (although very few) require SAT Subject tests and depending on what classes you are currently taking, you might be able to take some as early as this June. In addition to looking into testing requirements, try to get a sense of what your target schools recommend your high school curriculum look like—then take a look at your curriculum to make sure you’re on track to fulfill these recommendations/requirements.

A few more snaps (credit: Jake) from our recent trip to Paris and Sorbonne Université:

Sorbonne Université
Sorbonne Université + Brittany (cold day!)

 

*Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

June Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Seniors:

Congrats on your graduation! Enjoy a summer free of college applications.

Juniors: 

Time to get to kick it into high gear!

  • It might seem like a silly piece of advice, but many students are not aware that each school has a set of application instructions that are not located on the application. I suggest you read them on each schools admissions website prior to tackling the application process.
  • Many colleges don’t proactively ask for online resources yet, but you may have an interest in creating a digital portfolio (LinkedIn, SoundCloud, personal website, and/or blog). Now is a great time to work on these extras, as well as your formal resume.
  • As you begin your essay work, consider opening a Common App account. Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted before August 1, 2018. You can read more about account rollover here.

Sophomores:

  • Continue working on your resume.
  • Thinking about how to explore your academic interests this summer? There are tons of options, and you should be doing something “academic” this summer if possible. Please note: something “academic” is not limited to a class or formal academic program. Have questions? Contact us to discuss.
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Summer before junior year is a great time to begin test prep! Here are a few resources to get you started:

PSAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat/new-sat-tips-planning/new-sat-how-to-prep/a/full-length-psat-nmsqt

ACT

-http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-preparation.html

-http://www.amazon.com/ACT-Prep-Black-Book-Strategies/dp/0692027912/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1437782060&sr=8-1&keywords=act+prep+black+book

-http://www.amazon.com/The-Real-Edition-Prep-Guide/dp/076893432X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_

SAT

-https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/sat

Freshmen:

  • Continue working on your resume. Consider exploring your academic interests — reading is a simple and easy way to do so!
  • Interested in understanding what exactly the Common Application is and how it works? Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted at the end of this application season. You can read more about account rollover here.
  • Looking for community engagement or volunteer opportunities? Something meaningful to get involved in that you might want to continue throughout high school, someplace where you might make a real difference? Ask upperclassmen how they spend their summers or check out https://www.idealist.org for opportunities near you.
 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*

May Monthly Action Plan – By Grade

Seniors:

Congrats on deciding where you will be attending college if that is the path you are taking!

As graduation nears and high school comes to a close…enjoy yourself! Graduation signifies exciting new beginnings, but also change. Many of the people you are used to seeing every day at your high school are people you might not see often (or again in some cases), so make the most of spending time with these people (and your family!) the next few months.

Juniors:

Keeping it light this month during APs!

-As you wrap up testing, you should begin to think more about your list and application strategy. If you still have schools you want to visit, look ahead to the end of August and early fall to get the most out of campus visits. If you have to go during the summer months, read this post.

-Decide on your courses for next year, keep working on your resume/activity sheet, and firm up all summer plans.

-It is a busy time, but try to consider this process like a class from here on out. You’ll need to carve out time for it every week.

-Looking ahead…it is time for essays! Now would be a good time to start your personal statement. You can review the Common App prompts here and the Coalition prompts here. Start brainstorming.

Freshmen/Sophomores:

See a few additional notes below for “enrichment” activities.

-Focus on your grades. Your transcript is the most important part of your college application. If you have room for improvement, colleges want to see you improve! If you are struggling in any subject, do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help. 

-Continue working on your resume/activity sheet.
-Firm up your summer plans; make the most of summer! If you know you’ll have some free time on your hands…
-Looking for community engagement or volunteer opportunities? Something meaningful to get involved in that you might want to continue throughout high school, someplace where you might make a real difference? Ask upperclassmen how they spend their summers or check out https://www.idealist.org for opportunities near you.
-I am also a big fan of podcasts as learning tools and entertainment! Here are a few I recommend:

A great umbrella site, How Stuff Works includes BrainStuff (science), Stuff You Missed in History Class, Stuff of Genius (inventions), TechStuff and others. The approach here is like Radiolab, but more specialized by individual topic. You should be able to find a broadcast on just about any area of interest.

TED Talks podcasts. These cover a wide array of subjects and perspectives; this is a “something for everyone” site and the angle tends toward a combination of informative and inspirational.

If you’re looking for some more straight-up academic enrichment, you could check out Math Mutation, which takes an entertaining approach to its subject.

 

 *Stay in the know! Subscribe for news, tips, and advice*