Juniors: what you do this summer—the last summer before your college applications—can push your college application from maybe to yes. Use your time wisely. You’ve worked so hard to get to this point; don’t lose momentum. You’re almost done! If you need support, a push, and/or refinement, International College Counselors is here for you.
Here’s what to do:
1. Narrow your college list
A solid college list is comprised of colleges that offer what a student is looking for— from academics to location. Over the summer, students should continue to identify schools that may be a good fit. They should also be refining their list. The aim is to build a well-balanced list of approximately ten colleges. Students need to take into consideration a college’s acceptance rate as well as the student’s own numbers (grades and standardized test scores). Ideally, the list should include no more than one or two reach schools; two to four match schools; and four to six schools where a student’s numbers slightly exceed the average.
2. Schedule campus visits—in person or virtually
Some colleges have started re-opening their campuses for limited visits and tours (look for each college’s policy on their admission webpage). Visiting colleges makes narrowing down the college list much easier. Campus visits give students and their families the opportunity to check out the college’s “feel,” to see the area around it, and to ask questions about academics, student life, and anything else they’re curious about. If visiting in person is not possible, be sure to attend virtual tours and information sessions.
3. Start on the college application
The Common Application, accepted by more than 900 colleges, officially opens on August 1, but students can create an account now, as long as they don’t add any colleges to the account. For now, rising seniors can simply answer the Profile, Family, Education, and Activities sections. (In the Education section, note that “current year courses” means “senior year courses.”) On or after August 1, you can begin adding colleges and answering their questions.
4. Work on college essays
Tackling the college
essay in the summer will give students time to hone their writing. Deeply consider the story to be told and work through multiple drafts. Find the Common App prompts for the Class of 2022 here
5. Apply for scholarships
Numerous websites assist students in their scholarship search. Students who explore them will find countless scholarships that reward attributes other than high GPA and athletic ability. To start, try www.fastweb.com
, and www.raise.me
6. Plan to take or re-take the SAT/ACT exams
While many colleges
are test-optional, some (like the Florida public universities) still require the ACT and SAT to be considered for admission. And even if a college
is test-optional, submitting a strong score can boost your chances of admission. Students should prepare for the exams by practicing with a tutor, taking a class, or taking advantage of various free practice materials online, e.g., www.khanacademy.org
7. Get a job or volunteer
Having a summer job or doing consistent volunteer work can help boost a student’s college applications and expose them to potential career paths.
8. Get efficient and effective help
International College Counselors offers a number of different services to help high school seniors with the college admissions process. Our options include:
- Hourly service
- Application reviews
- Essay reviews
- State-school packages
- Comprehensive packages