Make the Most of Your Summer!
We’re loving the return of warmer weather and are excited that summer is right around the corner! If you’re about to wrap up your Junior year, these tips are designed for you as you think about spending your time wisely and preparing for college applications in the Fall.
Wrap Up Last Minute College Visits
By now, you’re likely compiling a list of colleges that you want to apply to. As you work on your list, our recommendation is that you visit colleges in some way to start getting a feel for what you like and don’t like. As more colleges reopen to visitors, look at your list and see if there are any virtual visits you can schedule right now and find any colleges closer to home that you can visit in-person. Once you are admitted to a particular university, we highly recommend that you physically visit the campus to decide if you really want to enroll. Aim to have these visits wrapped up by early June to help keep yourself accountable and to save time later in the summer to get a head start on applications.
Make a List of Application Deadlines
Once you’ve narrowed down your list to around six schools, you’ll want to note the various application and financial aid deadlines. Add them to your phone, planner, sticky notes, or whatever works for you! Now set a self-imposed deadline to apply several weeks earlier than required so you have time to confirm the college received all of your documents. Also, pay particular attention to application plan details to know if there are restrictions about applying under an early deadline like Early Decision. The college may also have a preferred deadline or timeline for scholarship consideration that you’ll want to be aware of. Trust us when we say you can never set too many reminders for admission deadlines! Set these important reminders in your calendar so you can breathe easy that your application will be turned in on time.
Know Where (And How) to Apply
Knowing what colleges you want to apply to is only half the battle. You also need to make sure you know how to apply! The most common way you’ll encounter is the Common Application, which over a thousand colleges accept. Now’s a great time to create a free account at commonapp.org so you can “rollover” your application to an active one in August of your senior year. You also might see colleges using their own application or the Coalition Application. If a college accepts all three of these application types, that doesn’t mean you need to apply three times. They’re just giving you options to make it easier for more students to apply. Once you make your accounts, be sure to use a non-school based email so you keep all of your college work tied to an email you own and won’t lose access to when you graduate! Also, it’s a good idea to pick a secure password and jot it down somewhere safe so you have a backup in case you lose it.
Start Drafting Those Essays
Now that you know where and how to apply, plan to spend July and August compiling all of the writing prompts for your essays or personal statements and any college-specific supplemental essays you’ll need to submit. This piece of the application process takes the most time so plan early and start by outlining a rough idea of what story you want to convey. There really is no magical topic for an essay, but it’s crucial to make sure your essay is something that ONLY YOU could have written. A bad essay won’t necessarily sink your application, but it will miss the opportunity to tie together all of the details of who you are, while adding valuable context the admissions committee won’t receive from any other document.
By now you should feel ready to start working on your applications to save stress and any last minute rush in the fall. Trust us, your future self will thank you for starting early and your applications will be that much stronger due to the extra thought and attention to detail!