Transition Time in the College Search Process
May 1, National Decision Day, has just passed. That causes a transition time in the college search process. High school seniors drop out of the process. They have finished the college search and college selection. They are on their way to a new phase in their lives and are focused on getting ready for next fall.
For high school juniors, it’s coming down to crunch time. College applications are just a few months away. It’s time to figure out where to apply and to take those final steps towards having great college applications. You should be transitioning from “searching” to “applying.”
High School Junior College Application Prep Steps
- Sign up for the June ACT or SAT test (if needed)
- Start building an activity resume/accomplishments document for college applications
- Ask teachers for recommendation letters (to either complete before the end of the school year or by the start of school next fall)
- Start finalizing your list of schools to apply to
- Schedule summer visits at any schools you want to apply to, but haven’t visited yet (summer visits aren’t the best for seeing the campus in action, but you can always do a more in-depth visit senior year)
- Start looking at college applications on the college websites to see what you need – essays, recommendation letters, portfolios, etc.
- Check out the Common App if any of the schools you want to apply to accept it
For high school sophomores, it’s time to get serious about the college search process. Junior year will be the year to figure everything out.
High School Sophomore College Search Prep Steps
- Start prepping for ACT and/or SAT tests, if you haven’t already
- Start a college search spreadsheet
- Schedule summer college visits to start figuring out what type/size of school you want
- Read a lot about what colleges are looking for in applicants and take action to position yourself for success.
- Talk as a family about how you will pay for college – need-based aid, merit aid, savings accounts, parent contributions, student contributions, etc.
Parents, your biggest task is to figure out what your family can afford. Whether your student is a high school junior or sophomore, take the time to plan this out and share it with your student.
- Net Price Calculators like this one
- Merit aid resources like meritaid.com and my Full Scholarship List
- College search information websites