As back to school emails start to flood your inbox, schedule pickup date comes closer and signs of summertime disappear, it is hard to comprehend that school starts in less than 3 weeks.
While the first day of school can always seem daunting to all students, rising high school seniors have another anxiety this year: the college admissions process.
As a senior this year myself, I have scoured the internet for advice and talked to students who have gone through the process themselves to get the best tips for the process.
The Common Application to apply to over 700 schools and Apply Texas for Texas public schools opened on August 1. Get a head start and be prepared with these five tips below:
Make a spreadsheet
Use Google Sheets and create a document with columns that include the name of the university, deadlines, whether you are applying regular or early decision, essay prompts and any additional notes. This will serve as your reference guide throughout the process and make sure to update it often.
Talk to teachers over the summer for recommendation letters
Teachers already have a lot on their plate and are incredibly busy at the start of the year. If you haven’t already, talk to one or two teachers, depending on the admission requirements of your schools, and secure a letter of recommendation. At this point in the process, email or schedule a time to meet with your teacher as soon as possible.
Have a planner
Personally, I have a physical planner that I use to track my activities and school assignments through the year. It is also perfect for inputting important dates throughout the process. Planners, whether online or physical, can also help you generally though life and keep you organized. For an online organizational tool, I recommend Wunderlist, a free app that allows you to check off to-dos. I use a physical Bando agenda but also have friends who are very happy with their Passion Planner.
Know each school’s requirements
It is crucial that you use your spreadsheet to keep track of the various necessities of each school’s application. While almost all school require basic items such as standardized test scores, an application fee, resume, transcripts and essays, often more selective school will have supplemental essays that pertain specifically to their school and curriculum. Be aware of these requirements so you will not be surprised as you start to submit your information.
Talk to people who have been through the process
Don’t be shy to reach out to graduated seniors who just went through the process, they were in your shoes just recently. Talk to college students about their experience in a university you are looking into to get a more personal feel. They can also be great resources to read over and edit your personal essays.
I hope these tips will help you as you navigate the waters of the daunting college admissions process. Good luck and I hope all your dreams come true!