The time is now for rising seniors to get a jump start on their college search. There is no doubt that fall semester will be a lot less stressful if the college search and application process is well underway when school begins. Below are ten things rising seniors can and should begin working on now.
Go Ahead….Get A Jump Start!
Here are ten things rising seniors can do to get a jump start on the college search:
1. Write at least one college admission essay
Applying for college can take up as much time as a regular class during the
senior year. By preparing a generic essay in advance that can be tailored to
different applications, the Rising Seniors can spend more time on studies and
extracurricular activities once school begins.
2. Complete one college admission application
This application can serve as the prototype for all other applications. The
Common Application is accepted by hundreds of colleges and may be a good
place to start.
3. Collect reference letters
Normally reference letters come from junior year teachers who have taught
the student for the last full year. Teachers usually appreciate having the
extra time over the summer to write a reference for rising seniors
when the memory of the student’s achievements is fresh.
4. Visit (or plan to visit) campuses
While summer is not the ideal time to visit campuses because there aren’t
many students there, this is the time Rising Seniors are free and
parents’ schedules are usually more flexible. These visits can also be made
in the early fall and should include sitting in on a class, looking at the
dorm rooms, eating in the cafeteria, and meeting with coaches and professors
in areas of interest. Visiting colleges is a great way to conduct the college search.
5. Develop preliminary list of colleges
Call, write or use the Internet to request information. Some colleges may
even give out names of alumni in the student’s neighborhood who may be
willing to share experiences. Use this information to help with your college search and create a list of colleges to which to apply. Be thorough in the college search and learn what distinguishes one college from the next.
6. Participate in interesting activities
Summer is a time to act on interests through internships, volunteer work,
clubs or paid positions. Try something productive and creative, preferably
in an area of interest.
7. Keep a journal
A journal can help Rising Seniors chronicle their activities as well as determine
what they want and need for the next few years. Journals also serve to help
improve communication skills, critical for later success.
8. Plan to take SAT, ACT, SAT II
Rising seniors should have taken SATs and ACTs at least once by this point
but may want to look at when they’re offered again in the fall. Those taking
SAT II subject tests will need to decide which subjects to take. If SAT prep
courses are planned, sign up now for early fall.
9. Begin scholarship search
Use books and web-based services to begin a search for private money.
College experts point to reading as the best way to improve vocabulary and
prepare for standardized tests. While reading, have a dictionary handy to
look up unfamiliar words.
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