Uhhh… you WILL need reference letters and more. No matter which college you apply to, schools are looking for a solid GPA and to see that you have taken the most challenging courses you could. Most colleges want to see decent SAT or ACT scores as well. Also, there is more to applying to college besides grades and scores, so being the bright college bound student I know you to be, you’ll pay extra attention to this checklist and bump your chances of getting in to a college that will be the right fit for you to accomplish your dreams!
You’re Not Late (But Don’t Procrastinate) If you haven’t begun the admissions process, you’re not so behind that should you freak out. However, you do need to get the ball rolling. Doing something, even just checking out a few college web sites, is a constructive first step. Look to compare academic requirements; find out if there are opportunities for undergraduate research; do they have intramural sports; what’s the deal on studying abroad; etc.
Here is some advice I know you will find useful:
Lay it Out Few of us like doing things where we have little or no experience. It’s hard to demonstrate competency and confidence when attempting things the first time around. Shopping for colleges isn’t so easy when you have thousands of options and aren’t sure of what you want. The quest can seem completely overwhelming. This may come as a shock to you, but not all moms and dads are skilled carpenters, electricians or plumbers. We need to sit down with a cup of coffee, read the instructions, these days we watch a YouTube video (maybe 10 times like me) before taking on the job. Then and only then will we proceed to fix the leaky faucet, change the light fixture in the bathroom, or build a bookcase for your bedroom. So, do some prep work. The more you can organize what you need before starting the college admissions process, the easier life will be. For example, select your SAT/ACT test date, then study for it. At many colleges, a few extra points can mean the difference between getting a scholarship or not. If you’re shooting for a seat at an elite college, you can also expect to complete SAT Subject Tests at the end of your junior year. If a college recommends that you take a few but doesn’t require that you do, what they really mean is that they are expecting you to take them. Then check your calendar, and make plans with your parents to visit a few colleges during the year. So you can get a sense of what’s out there, look at a broad range of types: big, small, public, private, city or country.
How Important Are After School Activities? Other than taking the most challenging courses your high school offers, it’s a good time to evaluate what you do outside the classroom. Don’t stay in activities just because you think they would look good on a resume. It’s way better if you choose one or two extracurricular activities that you’re enthusiastic and passionate about. Most colleges are looking for well-rounded students, not just the student with their nose in a book! Ultimately, you will need a plan of action and smart money moves to make those four years of college the perfect fit. Call us.703.928.9036.
By Luanne Lee, CCPRS