Ahh, so senior year is upon you, summer is quickly running out, your parents and friends are starting to ask a lot of questions, and you still don’t even know where you want to go to college, what you’re supposed to be doing right now, or even how to get started! …. We get it.
So, what should you be doing this month to make sure you are ready to start off senior year feeling prepared?
Success in the college application process (as well as in academics and life in general) demands attention to details, strong organizational skills, and careful and consistent time management. Between taking the most demanding classes most of you have ever faced, complicated athletic schedules, and trying to complete application deadlines and each school’s individual requirements straight, the fall of senior year will almost certainly prove to be one of the busiest times of your life. Even if you do not know exactly where you will be applying to college, you can start getting control of your time and managing potential stress by making the most of the coming weeks to get as much of the busy work related to your college search and application process out of the way as possible before school starts.
Here is what you should be doing:
THE SUMMER TASK LIST
Common App -- Use the Hebron Academy Common App Guide Mr. Colonna emailed you to complete your Common App through the “Activities” section. Be sure to add everything you do in and out of school to your list (we will go through it together once we are on campus.) Show your parents or guardian your activities/resume in SCOIR and Common App. Have you forgotten any jobs, volunteer work, awards, honors, hobbies?
Essay-- Do you have a story you are excited to tell? If you are still searching for an idea, check out the Essence Object Exercise and the Once you identify a topic you feel really gives you a chance to share with colleges who you are, how you see the world, and what matters to you, complete a first draft (1000-2000 words.) For the first draft, focus on strong and colorful storytelling (we will revise, cut, condense, and edit for grammar and punctuation later.) Most of you will have at least one supplemental essay (an essay response that is unique to a specific college,) so it is important to have your main essay out of the way so you can focus on academic classes and these additional writing prompts that can be vital to your application outcome.
College Research -- Use the next couple of weeks to dig into college websites to explore programs that interest you. If you have a major in mind, find out what it means to study in that field at each school. If you have no idea what you want to study, go to the majors and minors page for each school that interests you and take a look at your options. You do not need to have all the answers, but find out what possibilities are out there--So many amazing choices!
For the schools that are on your list, go to their admissions website and sign up for virtual information sessions. This is a great way to get introduced to a college that you are curious about.
College List -- Add colleges that you are interested in to both your SCOIR and your COMMON APP
Supplemental Essays - These can be found in the “Questions” section of each college once you add a school to your Common App. Preview these supplemental essay questions and, as noted above, be sure to start researching the specific program(s) that interests you at each college. What makes University of X’s computer science program unique? How does the biological engineering program at College of X meet your college and career goals? I recommend creating a separate Google Doc with each college and its supplemental questions listed. (Note the application deadline as well.)
Test Prep -- When will you be taking your next SAT? What will you do to prepare to improve your score? Register for a fall ACT or SAT test administration. Review your past test results and identify which sections have room for improvement. Did you run out of time on a certain section? Did you run into math problems that you recognized but need to review (i.e. probability, slope, multiplying exponents, etc.)? Were you feeling out of sorts on the test day? Use Khan Academy, other online resources, or a tutor to help you prepare for the next exam.
Meeting -- Use the Google Form link to schedule a virtual meeting with Mr. C before school resumes. If for some reason the college counseling emails that have gone out throughout the summer have not reached you, contact Mr. Colonna (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ms. Stokes and Mr. Colonna are excited to meet each of you in person (and show you our new office located on the first floor of the Stanley Building.) In the meantime, reach out to Mr. Colonna via email with any questions or concerns (email@example.com).
There is so much to look forward to this fall! You will be busy, but it’s worth it!