Tips for Rising Seniors

What do you think is the most important part of the college admissions process?

The summer is almost over. If you are a rising high school senior and you have not started your college application, start it today! The Common App went live on August 1, and many schools have already begun posting supplemental essays questions. Getting a head start on supplemental essays during the summer (when you have free time) will allow you to focus on your schoolwork during Senior Year; starting early will alleviate juggling homework and college preparation work.

Do not treat senior year of high school lightly. Admissions officers are not pleased when students do not continue rigorous courses or drop certain academic classes if they are not required. Four years of every academic subject bolsters a résumé – and keep up with your extracurricular clubs and sports.

When it is time to write the “Why are you applying to our college?” question, learn as much about the college or specific program as possible. Remember: the more specific your essay, the stronger it will be.

And, of course, enjoy the summer! Go out for the night with friends, buy an ice cream cone, and, above all, relax. You worked hard this past year; always remember to balance hard work with a little play.

To see more tips, click here.


 

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College Application Process Timeline for Juniors

What should you be doing now to stay ahead of the curve?

Juniors may be starting to wonder more and more about the application process ahead, and what they should be doing now to stay ahead of the curve. The New York Times Choice Blog has posted a new series called Counselor’s Calendar in which two counselors from independent schools, Amy Wintermeyer and Mark Moody, offer advice on how to prepare for the application process and beyond.

Juniors need to start getting focused on the road ahead. This not only includes starting to research and visit colleges, but also thinking about what students will need to create outstanding applications. This involves creating a timeline for standardized testing (subject tests as well as the SAT or ACT), evaluating your relationships with teachers for the needed recommendations, and discussing important issues with your parents and counselors regarding finances and safety schools.

For seniors who are mostly over the application hurdle, it’s more of a waiting game at this point, as well as a concerted effort to not fall into the senior slump. For more tips on what seniors should be doing to enable their transition to college, see this posting.

You Are What You Tweet

Have you googled yourself lately?

If you are gearing up to begin your college application process, you definitely want to read Danny Westneat’s article in the Seattle Times. In this article, he discusses how he discovered an inspiring story of a student with a rough start in life, who defied all odds and made it to college, but that his perspective changed when he discovered the student's Twitter feed.

Without getting into the content of his posts, the point is clear. It’s normal for high school students to share their world with their friends, but with today’s internet culture, the consequences of those discussions and the photographical evidence that may be associated with them, are obviously much more far reaching and long term.

Westneat quotes a Harvard interviewer during a debate on the website Quora, who offers some guidance in this area: “Does a Facebook profile or a website prejudice me before I meet a candidate? Yes. Absolutely. If you care about your college career, one of the best things you can do is Google yourself, then pull anything off you wouldn't voluntarily show your parents' friends." Unfortunately, it can be what is not included in your college application that leaves the biggest impression.