Students Can Get a Head Start On College Applications and Essays This Summer
The school year may be coming to a close, but the college admissions process is just starting for rising high school seniors (aka the college class of 2022). In addition to preparing for standardized testing and finalizing college lists, rising seniors also have the opportunity to get a head start on their college application essays during the summer break.
Should You Work On Applications During Summer Break?
Applying to college is stressful, and adding to an already anxious process is the idea that there’s too much to do too soon. It’s important for students to approach the college application process with confidence and a plan of action to carry them through this journey from start to finish. One way that students can alleviate some stress and get a leg up is to start on their applications and essays during the summer.
The Common Application now allows for account rollover, so while supplements won’t be available until after the August 1 open date for the 2017-18 Common App, students can get started on filling out simple information like their personal details, activities, school info, and more.
They can also get started on simple tasks like reviewing essay prompts and thinking about what they want to write about. Some colleges will also announce their supplemental essay prompts over the summer, allowing students the opportunity to preview essay topics before starting on their supplements in the fall.
So in short, yes, it is a good idea for students to work on their applications over the summer break, but that doesn’t have to mean they complete the entire admissions process before school starts back in the fall. There are a number of simple things that students can do throughout the summer to prepare for the admissions process without overwhelming themselves with too much application work too soon.
For some students the idea of writing essays during their summer break can add more anxiety, but starting on your essays doesn’t mean you have to complete them all today.
The Common Application has already released the 2017-18 application essay prompts, so take some time to review them and think about which prompt you’d like to write about. Brainstorm some topics and start thinking about what exactly you want to tell admissions officers. If you feel confident about your topic ideas, start an outline for your essay or start on a simple rough draft. Allowing time to brainstorm ideas and think about them over the summer break can make for an easier writing process once you’re ready to really start on your applications.
Make a List of Materials to Request at the Start of the School Year
While many students will work on their own or with independent counselors over the summer, school-based college counselors will be on summer break, too. Reaching out over the summer for things like feedback on essays, recommendations, transcripts, and more is unrealistic, as your college counselors have a number of things they need to do first in order to prepare for the fall.
Instead of inundating your school’s college counselor with materials requests over the summer, make a list of the things you’ll need from him or her once the school year starts back up in the fall. Be considerate of your college counselor’s time, as he or she is working with a number of seniors and you will not be the only one requesting materials once the school year starts back up. Take time to think about what you will need and when, and write it all down so you’ll be organized and ready for the next step when school is back in session.
Have a Productive Summer
Working on your college applications during the summer doesn’t have to be just the literal process of physically filling out applications and writing essays. A more abstract way to work on your college applications over the summer is to continue your activities and interests that will be featured and highlighted in your college application. Planning a productive summer, making an impact in your activities and areas of interest, and more is another way to continue your college prep over the summer and improve upon your college admissions profile – and in turn your college applications.
Applying to college doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, and starting on your college applications and essays doesn’t have to add anxiety, either. By taking your time to spread out your college application tasks, and making a plan for the fall, rising high school seniors can get a head start on their applications and essays and go into the college admissions process this fall confident, prepared, and organized.