Admit it: Getting started in the college application process is a daunting task. The most common phrase heard in the offices of Crisp Consulting + Coaching is “I wish I would have started earlier.” At the moment, many seniors are consumed with testing calendars, copious paperwork and looming deadlines. The creative energy utilized in developing key messages and application theme can be all-consuming.
This week, Crisp Consulting + Coaching has received several phone calls from parents of freshmen and sophomores asking “Is this too early? What should we be doing?” It is never too early to invest in your child’s education and the path to college. We would like to provide the following strategies that will assist sophomores and juniors starting the process of college admission.
Get Focused. First and foremost, focus on academics. College admission officers will look at your grades and the rigor of your school’s curriculum. Engage in the most challenging courses at your school and work to achieve grades no lower than a B. In addition, focus on two to three extra-curricular activities that show your passion and commitment.
Get listed. Currently, your list of possible college should be long. By the end of your junior year, you should have a narrowed list of eight to ten colleges that fit your academic, social and financial criteria. These schools should provide academic and social climates that enhance your individual strengths and talents. Over applying is not recommended.
Get on campus. One of the biggest mistakes highly qualified students make as they apply for admission is the decision to put off the campus visit until after the admission decision. Visiting colleges is essential in identifying academic and social fit. Many schools weigh demonstrated interest in the admission process. Thus, getting on campus is critical. Burton College Tours does an exemplary job of combining essential campus visits with extraordinary college counseling at a very affordable price. This investment is critical in the college search process.
Get organized. When you develop a list of schools, create a check list and calendar that will assist you with testing deadlines and requirements, essay topics, and submission deadlines. Visit The Common Application and familiarize yourself with the components, supplemental forms and essay prompts. Although the official application will not be released until early August of your senior year, making yourself familiar with The Common Application will allow you to get a head start in the application process.
Get remarkable. As you apply to colleges, you want to make sure admission officers know who you are and what they will get if they admit you. Selective colleges are very deliberate choosing students that will enhance their community. They search for unique talents, interests, and perspectives. Leadership, compassion, academic curiosity and humanitarian efforts standout in the applicant pool. Begin thinking now about how you will convey key messages regarding your strengths as you apply for admission.
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 admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.