Now that summer has come, it is important for you rising seniors to take key steps to getting your college applications finished (or nearly completed). After all, it will be much easier to set aside time to conquer your applications during summer than in fall, when crunch time will add to your stress and create more mistakes. Why not take advantage of all these free hours you have while out of school?
Here are the five crucial ways to tackle college apps over summer:
1. Finalize a college list.
Next week I will talk about this in more detail, but for now you should put this on your radar: it will be important to narrow down your college list so you can focus your energy on applications that actually matter to you and give your entire application process a sense of purpose. You will be amazed at how inspired you will feel once you have made this list, which should include dream schools, reach schools, on-target schools, and safety schools. Again, I will talk more about this next week. Also, if you have questions on how to choose a major, which will undoubtedly shape your college list, I have some advice.
2. Make a spreadsheet of important deadlines and other key information.
Organization is an absolute necessity. You cannot possibly have a limited-stress college application season without having a systematic way of knowing deadlines, app fees, contact info, and any other relevant details. Once you have determined your college list, you need to create this essential document and fill it in as much as possible. This will give you a clear guide for how to plan your apps.
3. Brainstorm, draft, and revise college admission essays.
I talk about essays a lot on the blog, so I won’t go into too many details here. Needless to say, working on the essays as soon as possible will yield the best results. It may seem silly to draft them so far in advance, but that little work you do bit by bit will accumulate into something really useful later.
4. Format, compile, and update your resume.
In a couple weeks I will go into more detail about how to craft a resume that tells a story, but for now you should know that this is a priority during the summer. It is a good time to reflect on what you did this past school year, and what you’ve done over your high school career. You may even decide to look at your resume before determining a college list/major because it can give you a sense of your strengths and weaknesses.
5. Determine and contact those who will write your recommendation letters.
This step will come a little bit after the others; you need to have a clear sense of your major and your college list, and you need to have a solid resume for your recommenders. However, you can still start thinking about who would be a good candidate. I have written about this in more detail here.
Getting into the right college takes a bit of time and planning, but thankfully you only have to complete the process once. Why not get it right the only time?
For more guidance on the college admissions apps, check out B2A’s related services. We can help with essays, resumes, selecting colleges, and other general counseling.