June Action Plan – By Grade

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

 

Juniors:

  • 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 actual online application. I suggest you read them before tackling the application process.
  • As you begin your essay work, open a Common App account, and begin filling out the base data (Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities). Unlike in past years, if you open up an account now, it will not be deleted before August 1, 2019. There is no better time than now to get your CA base data underway.
  • If you’ve finished testing, it is time to review your college list and application strategy. Pinpointing your top 5 or so schools now can help you maximize your time over the summer doing research and outreach.
  • If you are not finished testing, continue to prep.
  • If you have summer college visits planned, take advantage of the summer slowdown, and prepare meetings with your department of interest ahead of time. Interview if possible, too. You should always prepare for interviews, even if a school states they are not evaluative. Extended research and outreach can make a big difference in your admissions outcomes.
  • 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). If you do, aim to complete it over the summer.

Sophomores:

  • Continue working on your resume.
  • Come up with a plan for test prep. Summer before junior year is a great time to begin test prep! Here are a few resources to get you started if you are not quite ready to work with a tutor 1:1: = PSAT, ACT, SAT, SAT on Khan.
  • Thinking about how to explore your academic interests this summer? I hope so! 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. Examples of ways you can explore your interests at any time of the year = Khan Academy, Coursera or edX, Ted Talks or Ted-Ed.
  • Volunteer work is also always beneficial. It can be helpful to choose a few volunteer engagements and stick with them through high school/12th grade, so try to pinpoint something you will enjoy and plan to stick with it.

Freshmen:

  • Continue working on your resume.
  • Explore your academic interests this summer! If you are unsure what they are, that’s even more reason to get out there and do some exploring. Figuring out what you do not like is often just as important as figuring out what you do like. Please note: something “academic” is not limited to a class or formal academic program. Examples of ways you can explore your interests at any time of the year = Khan Academy, Coursera or edX, Ted Talks or Ted-Ed.
  • Volunteer work is also always beneficial. It can be helpful to choose a few volunteer engagements and stick with them through high school/12th grade, so try to pinpoint something you will enjoy and plan to stick with it.

 

 

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Back From California

I just returned from a two-week trip to California, where I was helping run a Common App and essay writing workshop at Hammer Prep, in San Diego. The workshops (we run two) are always a blast, and students leave with:

  • A completed Common Application.
  • A polished Common Application Essay.
  • An Activities and Awards Resume, which can be used with all applications.
  • A Master Plan for college admission success, which includes a task list and timeline of any remaining items: application deadlines, additional test dates, supplemental essay topics, etc.

Many students will also leave with:

  • Supplemental essays.
  • University of California essays.

If you are located in the San Diego area, I highly suggest checking out Hammer and asking about next years workshops for your rising juniors! I hope to be there again 🙂

 

Changes to the University of California Essays

Many changes on the horizon for applicants this summer/fall. Here’s another to add to the mix, this time from the UC system, regarding essay topics (more info here)!

So, what happened to the personal statement?

-We’ve replaced the personal statement with the new personal insight questions for the fall 2017 application. We hope this new format will give you clearer guidance and more flexibility in the kind of information you want to share with us.

-The personal insight questions are about getting to know you better — your life experience, interests, ambitions and inspirations.

-Think of it as your interview with the admissions office. Be open. Be reflective. Find your individual voice and express it.

-While this section of the application is just one part we consider when making our admission decision, it helps provide context for the rest of your application.

Check out the new prompts and the guidance provided:

Freshman questions & directions »

Transfer questions & directions »

Writing tips »