Summer is a great time to get a jump start on college admissions. With some thoughtful planning and organization, you’ll make progress on applications and essays …. and still have time for hanging out at the beach, movies, friends and sleeping late.
Below is InLikeMe’s suggested list for rising seniors:
- Get started on the Common Application by preparing your materials in advance. The “Common App” is accepted by hundreds of colleges and is available at www.commonapp.org. While you cannot complete your official application until it becomes available on August 1st, you can prepare your materials (e.g. essays, awards & honors, activities) in advance. After you register, you can complete the application at your own pace, revising and saving your work as you progress.
- Brainstorm your application essays. Most competitive colleges require at least one essay. The Common Application offers a choice of essay topics. Consider your options and how you can best portray yourself. Usually, it takes several drafts to compose a high-quality essay. Be sure to invest the thought and time this important part of the application deserves! You’ll find these themes in various college applications.
- A significant personal experience, transition, achievement, failure, risk or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
- A belief or idea you have challenged and its impact on you
- An issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.
- A place where you feel content, and why
- An individual who has significantly impacted you and why.
- A fictional character, historical figure, or creative work that influenced you and why.
- How you can contribute to the diversity of the college community.
- Review and fine-tune your college list. Do your research.
- Visit colleges on your list, in person or on the Internet. Make time to prepare for campus visits.
- Review application materials for critical information such as deadlines, scholarships, supplements, interviews and recommendations.
- Write your resume. You’ll be glad you have when you ask for recommendations. Bring it along on interviews as it will help facilitate conversation
- Study for the SAT, ACT or Subject Tests if you plan to take them in the fall.
- Make a spreadsheet listing the colleges you plan to apply to along with key dates and requirements. Refer to this document as your work plan. Add some columns as appropriate for interviews, recommendations, transcript requests, etc. Update the spreadsheet over time. You work plan will help you stay organized and on track.
Lynn Radlauer Lubell, Publisher of InLikeMe.com and Founder of Admission By Design, an Educational Consultancy based in Boca Raton, Florida.