To apply and be accepted to college, timing is everything. For a successful “application season” next summer, fall, and winter, remember this: if you wait to do the things you need to do, then some of your best opportunities to position yourself could be gone, and the remaining possibilities will have to be addressed in a shorter time span. Being unprepared and late might mean that you forego wise decision-making.
We have good news – whose reliability is based upon our decades of work with students and their families. If you start now, you have a much better shot at accomplishing what’s needed so that you’ll stand out from your competition for admission to the colleges that you really want to attend.
In this post, we’re going to present you with specific to-do’s to complete over the next several months. They’ll greatly enhance your chances. The first three below are in order of importance:
- Develop a plan and follow it. This post is a plan. Adopt it to your needs.
- Keep your grades up. Your academic record is the first thing that admissions officers consider when evaluating you. It has been so for many years, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.
- Start preparing now for the SAT and/or ACT. Scores on the SAT/ACT are the next most important measure of you (after your academic record) that admissions officers consider when evaluating you. That has also been so for many years, and it, too, is not going to change anytime soon. “Preparing” means studying and/or tutoring with an experienced professional and developing a testing plan.
- If you’re not already deeply involved at a leadership level in an extracurricular activity, preferably one that makes a difference for others, start working now to change the situation. Admission committees want to see deep – not broad – commitment, and they’d like to see both leadership and demonstration of how you spent your time giving back to your community and society.
- Get acquainted now on a personal level with your school counselor and your favorite junior-year teacher(s) to enhance your chances of getting strong recommendation letters from them.
- Attend college nights and college fairs, and if any of the colleges interest you, be sure to meet, talk with, ask questions of, and get the business cards from the admission reps. Also, visit those colleges’ websites and Facebook pages and sign upfor their mailing lists. These actions demonstrate interest, and demonstrated interest can be the deciding factor in an admission decision.
- Make plans to hit the road this spring and summer to visit colleges that interest you.
- Look for summer programs, internship opportunities, or volunteer work in areas that interest you and that are consistent with any career objectives you may currently have.
- Consider taking an on-line course this summer. Florida Virtual School (flvs.net) offers dozens of courses, including most AP courses, free of charge to Florida students. At oedb.org/open/, you’ll find over 10,000 courses offered for free, but you don’t have to restrict yourself to free courses. Score At The Top offers pretty much every high school course you can think of, including all AP courses. Either for-credit or otherwise, taking a summer course will demonstrate very good things about your attitude toward spending time and effort to feed your intellectual curiosity.
- As long as it’s consistent with keeping you grades up (see #2, above), sign up for challenging classes for your senior year. That’s a positive and assertive action that admissions committees like to see.
Over the course of the 30+ years we’ve been doing college counseling, we’ve successfully guided thousands of students through every step of the process outlined above, and we’d be delighted to help you, too. One of the most common things parents and students alike have shared with us is that they wish they had started sooner. So, don’t delay! Call us at (561) 241-1610 and let us help make the balance of the year a successful one for you.