How to Conquer the College Process (part 3)
Eleventh Grade Spring
-Visit colleges. Make the most of your visit. Sit in on a class (look up the school’s roster to find a class that you are interested in and email the professor to ask if you can shadow the class a week prior to your visit). Look around at the students - do they seem like people who you would get along with? Do you see a lot of diversity? Do people seem friendly? Also, you should keep some type of document (a notebook, a chart, or even just notes on your phone) of your experiences at schools. If you have a funny anecdote from your visit or if you noticed something particular that you liked during your visit, these would be great details for your supplemental essays.
-Take the SAT Subject Tests (if the schools that you are interested in require them).
-Contact your recommendation letter writers. Many students don’t contact their teachers until their senior year, so if you contact your teachers at the end of your junior year, you will be giving yourself an advantage (sometimes teachers get lazy at the end of their pile of letters).
-Apply for a summer job or internship. If you don’t already have meaningful summer activities on your resume, the summer after junior year is a great time to do so!
-Sign up for challenging classes for senior year.
Eleventh Grade Summer
-Start working on your college application essays. Although supplemental essay questions are usually not posted until the end of summer, you can start brainstorming for and writing your Common App essay. Try to get as much of your college essays done as possible before the start of your senior year. You will be very thankful if you have the majority of them finished when you have a heavy workload for senior year!
-If you haven’t taken the gotten your desired testing scores yet, prepare over the summer to take your final round of standardized tests.
-Just like you should have during the previous summers, you should do something this summer that you can put on your resume!
-Finalize your college list. Make sure that you know your top choices, your safety schools, and your reach schools by now! Also, if you are going to apply early decision somewhere, you should decide where by now!
Twelfth Grade Fall
-You will have a lot on your plate during your first semester of senior year. Be sure to stay on top of it all. Make sure that you are aware of your deadlines. Don’t push tasks off until last minute. Your college applications are extremely important - you don’t want to be rushed while writing essays and filling out forms!
-If your teachers have not already submitted their letters of recommendation, make sure that you remind them your deadlines!
-If you applied early decision somewhere, don’t rely on getting accepted. If you don’t write any other essays and let your grades slip because you are overconfident that you will be accepted to your early decision school, you will be put in a bad situation if you do not get into the school. Keep in mind that schools will see your first semester grades if you apply regular decision.