Start Your College Apps Early To Stay Sharp and Feel Confident
For many rising seniors, summer is an opportunity to explore new learning experiences and prepare for an important year ahead. In addition to beating summer brain drain, getting a head start on college applications can help make the process feel more manageable.
While finishing up every single item on your college checklist before school starts may not be feasible, there are a number of steps seniors can take over the summer to set themselves up for success. Keep reading to learn what kind of college prep work you can do before the fall.
Finalize Your College List
If you’re still working on creating a balanced list of best-fit options, take advantage of the summer months to finalize your choices. Learn as much as you can about each school you are interested in and consider scheduling tours for campuses you haven’t had a chance to visit yet. While summer is not the most ideal time for school visits, since most college students are on break as well, it can still be a valuable opportunity for students to get a feel for the campus and demonstrate their interest. Take application strategy into account as well by considering whether you wish to apply in an early round.
Brainstorm Essay Topics
Since the Common App announced that the personal statement essay prompts will remain unchanged from the prior year, rising seniors have the opportunity to draft their essays this summer. Before typing up a draft, take the time to reflect on the people, places, and events that are most meaningful to you. Consider each of the prompts and choose an essay topic that best reveals something new about who you are. Continue to explore different idea until you’ve pinpointed a topic that truly excites you.
Start Editing Early
Once you’ve completed a draft of your personal statement, don’t wait to start editing it. Review your essay several times over the summer to catch any grammar or spelling mistakes and to ensure that you have a version that you are proud of. After self-editing, consider reaching out to a friend or peer whose writing skills you admire and asking for feedback on the theme and voice in your piece. This is also where your college counselor is valuable! Having an outsider’s perspective can help bring up potential ideas or alternatives you may not have previously considered.
Perfect Your Resume
A detailed resume that highlights your achievements and experiences is a major asset, so devote time to this important document. If you’ve never written one before, consider viewing templates online to get a sense of the format. Focus primarily on what you have achieved during high school and include internships, extracurricular activities, jobs, and any leadership positions you have obtained.
Compile Additional Materials
Students who wish to submit additional materials, such as an art portfolio or highlight reel for a sports team, may choose to begin compiling this over the summer. Different schools have different policies regarding supplemental material, so consult representatives and websites for each college you plan to apply to. Once you understand the guidelines, start pulling together the videos, pictures, or documents you wish to submit.
By using the summer before senior year to get a jumpstart on applications, students can enter their final year of high school feeling prepared and confident. If you are looking for guidance throughout the admissions process, our team of expert counselors can help you at any point in your application journey.