Ready Set Go
Once upon a time, American high school juniors had a genuine summer break. But frolicking in the sand at the local beach or working a summer job as a barista were the revels of many high school scholars of the past.
What the heck? Why?
University competition, and a lot of it.
So, what better time is there to begin the long procession of the college application season than midummer when our weary students are free of their pesky school schedule?
Since college app deadlines arrive as early as November 1st, successful college hopefuls begin their perilous odyssey toward college acceptance… right about now.
Ready Set Go: 3 Quick Tips
Before launching headfirst into the shallow end of the unknown, parents and students would do best to wade in cautiously, but expeditiously.
Students certainly have to hit the ground running to meet deadlines, but first, consider a few preliminary planning tools to map out an effective college planning trajectory.
1. The Checklist– The Research Phase
Freshman Profile– Do the numbers stack up? Test scores, GPA, etc?
Campus environment– Clubs, sports, culture, weather, location, large/ small
Room and Board– On campus or off campus?
Meal Plans– College meal plan or do it yourself?
Programs or Majors of Study- Biology or Pre-Veterinary Studies?
Total Expense– Tuition, books, room and board, meals, medical, loans/ interest etc.
Transportation– Car, bike, or public?
2. The Spreadsheet– The Action Phase
Application Deadlines– Early or Regular Decision?
Application Fees– $75 or $90?
Important Documents– Letters of Rec, Test Scores, Tax Returns, ID, Transcripts
Application Essays Required– None or 5?
Interviews– Private schools only
Scholarships Available– How many? For what amount?
Applications Submitted/ Not Submitted– Earlier is better to avoid any electronic hiccups.
3. The Backup Plan
Don’t get stuck on just one or two schools. Cast a wide net of prospective universities. We all have our dreams, but students must be adaptable. If a student doesn’t gain admission to his or her first choice, the smart planner will have lined up a gamut of suitable alternatives. Ensure you have choices and many of them.
The “worst” worst case scenario is applying to 2 or 3 schools and ending up with 3 “unfortunately, we are unable to move forward with your candidacy at this time” letters.
The “best” worst case scenario is that a student must select the best college out of 10. Be in this group; its a solid place to be.
Ready Set Go: The Take Away
Selecting universities and getting the details right are key, so take your time. Get organized, set up a methodical plan and work it. Parents and students may choose to involve teachers, school counselors, or private college planners to seek professional guidance and calm the overactive nerves of students and families as they confront high stakes and monumental stress.
Half the battle is preparation and organization; checklists and spreadsheets are your friends, so lean on them and often.
The time to gear up and get planning is just around the corner. Happy college application season!
Ready, set, go!