Admit it: Any student who’s been recently accepted into college will tell you, it was hard work and they wish they had started sooner. College-bound juniors working with Crisp Consulting + Coaching are already strategically preparing for college admissions, taking standardized tests, visiting colleges, scheduling academic intensive summers and drafting essays. The class of 2012′s acceptance rates are shocking low. Crisp Consulting + Coaching offers the following advice for juniors who want to stay on track during the college admissions process.
Prepare for ACT, SAT, OMG! In addition to final exams, May and June are testing-intensive months with Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, the SAT, SAT Subject Tests and the ACT. Get plenty of rest on the days leading up to the test and eat a healthy breakfast before each one.
Prepare your letters of recommendation. All colleges want applicants to provide academic and character references. Preferably, these letters should be from a teacher in your junior year and students should ask teachers before the end of the school year. To assist your teachers, provide a “brag sheet” to help them shape an outstanding letter.
Prepare your senior year academic schedule. Before you leave for the summer, have a conversation with your college counselor or academic adviser about the courses you will be taking during your senior year. Your course schedule should reflect rigorous courses in the traditional core academic subjects: English, math, science, history and foreign language.
Prepare for college visits. Although a summer visit will be different than visiting during the spring or fall semesters, a summer visit can still be a worthwhile experience. Visiting a campus offers you the opportunity to meet members of the campus community and explore the area surrounding the campus. Contact admissions offices to request their summer schedules for campus tours and information sessions.
Prepare your college essays. Most college applications will require two primary essays and many schools will require one additional essay for their supplemental forms applications. College essays are the part of the college application process that takes the most amount of time. Give yourself plenty of time during the summer to brainstorm topics and write, review and revise your college essays. Summer is the time to begin brainstorming potential topics and writing.
Prepare your portfolio. Although it may be tempting to throw away papers from your English and history courses, don’t do it. Many schools, especially those who are test optional, will require applicants to submit graded academic papers. Collecting these papers now and tucking them away in a secure place will save you time from having to search when you are ready to apply to colleges in the fall.
Prepare your summer ventures. While the summer months are certainly a time to rest and recharge, you should talk to your educational consultant about potential summer activities. There is still time for you to seek employment, register for a summer program, take a summer course at a college or university or volunteer in your local area. Remember to choose your summer activities and experiences based on areas that you have a genuine interest in and are passionate about, not what you think will be impressive to a college or university.
Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admissions success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.