As a college advisor, I understand the importance of being well-prepared for the college admissions process. Here is a step-by-step list of things high schoolers should be doing in April to stay on track:
Keep Track of Application Requirements with an Updated College List: Research and review the admission requirements for the colleges you are interested in. Understand what documents, transcripts, test scores, essays, and other materials are required for each application. Ensure that this information is captured and updated on your list of colleges.
Create a College Application Timeline: Develop a timeline for completing your college applications, including deadlines for submitting applications, test scores, and other supporting documents. Plan ahead to avoid last-minute stress. This timeline will likely change, but having an early game plan will be very helpful!
Attend Virtual College Fairs: Many colleges and universities now offer virtual college fairs, allowing you to connect with admissions representatives and learn more about their programs. Take advantage of these opportunities to gather information and ask questions.
Prepare for Standardized Tests: If you plan to take standardized tests, such as the SAT or ACT, in the coming months, make sure you are preparing effectively. Review test content, take practice exams, and consider seeking additional help, such as tutoring or test prep resources, if needed.
Plan to Request Letters of Recommendation: Identify teachers, counselors, or other adults who can write strong letters of recommendation on your behalf. Request these letters early (likely late May or early June) and provide your recommenders with additional information to help them understand all the great things you've been doing outside of the classroom!
Polish Your Common App Activities List: Update and polish your activities list, including your extracurricular activities, community service, and leadership roles. Highlight your strengths and accomplishments.
Start Drafting Your Common App Personal Essay: Begin brainstorming and drafting your Common App Personal essay. The prompts for high school juniors are now available here: https://www.commonapp.org/blog/2023-2024-common-app-essay-prompts . Reflect on your experiences, values, and goals, and make sure your essays showcase your unique voice and personality.
Plan Campus Visits: If possible, plan virtual or in-person visits to the campuses of the colleges you are considering. Attend information sessions, take virtual tours, or participate in online events to get a sense of the campus culture and environment.
Finalize Summer Plans: How do you plan to spend your time this summer? Colleges will be interested! A mix of vacation, rest, work, and a pursuit of a passion (sports, academic, other) are all compelling and attractive to college admissions offices.
The college admissions process can be challenging and stressful, but with careful planning, organization, and preparation, you can set yourself up for success. Stay focused, manage your time effectively, and seek help when needed to make the most of your college application journey.
Looking for help navigating the process? Feel free to schedule a free consultation call with us to learn more about how we work with students to ensure great college application outcomes! Schedule your call here: https://calendly.com/foundryadmissionsstrategies/consultation-call