Rising Seniors Summer Check-In – Prepare for College Apps

Published by Wendy Nelson on

beach-chair-and-umbrella-mdIn my area, school has already been out for over a month and mid-August will mark the start of the new school year.  For rising seniors, that means time to start college applications is right around the corner.  It’s a good time to do a summer check-in to make sure your rising senior is on track to start college applications this fall.

I have compiled a list of the things I recommend checking in with your rising senior on this summer.  Either have a conversation with them or print these as things that need to be “checked off” this summer.

Rising Seniors Summer Checklist:

  • Recommendation letters – Pick 2 or 3 teachers to write recommendation letters and start thinking about what these teachers need to know to write a good recommendation for you.  These recommendations will be important both for college applications and scholarship applications.
  • High school resume – Start a high school resume of extra-curricular activities, jobs and honors/awards or update your current one.  This will also be used for college applications and scholarship applications.
  • College list – Start finalizing the list of colleges to apply to.  These days, 3 – 10 schools is pretty typical.  If you don’t have a way to track these schools, download my free college search spreadsheet.
  • College visits – Make a list of schools that need another visit for determining whether or not to apply (or schools you haven’t gotten to yet).  Start planning when those visits can happen.  Summer visits are fine for first visits, but for making a final decision on whether a school should be on or off your list, it’s best to visit during the school year.
  • ACT/SAT plan – Are you satisfied with your current scores or do you want to take the test one more time in the fall?  My oldest daughter was glad she took the ACT one more time her senior year because she had her best composite score.  It gets really hectic trying to juggle this in with everything else going on senior year, but it is often worth giving it a shot for potentially qualifying for more merit scholarship money or very selective admissions.
  • College application essay – Summer is a great time to start thinking about college application essay topics.  A great website to help you start brainstorming is Essay Hell.
  • Interviews – Do any of the colleges on your list require or recommend interviews?  If so, now is a great time to get these scheduled.
  • College contact – Do the schools you are going to apply to know you are interested?  If not, start making contact.  Find out who your admissions officer will be and start by emailing him or her to express your interest in the school and ask what he or she recommends you do to be ready to apply.
  • Common App – The Common App for next year’s applications will be available August 1.  If you are applying to any schools that use the Common App, create an account and start looking at the application in August.

Once senior year starts, it’s going to get pretty crazy fitting college applications and preparation in with everything else going on.  Doing some summer preparation now will help avoid stress later.