Now that the majority of my seniors are done, or very close to it, I’m starting to work more closely with the juniors. There is a lot to do between now and the summer and the one piece of advice that you will hear over and over again from families who have been through this process before is that students should start early.
For juniors, that means spending some time nestled in front of the fireplace over winter break reading college guide books or digging into college websites. There are a lot of schools out there and it takes time to figure out which ones are right for you.
I know junior year is super busy with testing and really tough classes, but if you are a junior, one year from now you will be one of the seniors celebrating the submission of your college applications. In fact, by this time next year, if you have done early action or early decision, you may know exactly where you are going to be attending school! Imagine that – you could be completely done, while some of your classmates are still sweating over essays!
The goal should be to have your list together by the end of junior year, so you can focus on essays, applications, and summer activities during June, July and August. Then, during the fall, you can take the SAT or ACT one more time, schedule interviews with colleges and put the final touches on your applications and get them submitted early.
What are the benefits of submitting early? For one, the college reps aren’t as overwhelmed and they are able to give your application a closer read. Just today I met with our area rep for Western Washington University and he said that one third of the applications arrive in the final few days before the deadline. It’s human nature for people to wait, but there really can be a significant benefit to hitting the submit button ahead of the herd. The representatives aren’t exhausted yet and possibly even more importantly, some schools have scholarship money which is first come – first served. If you are a potential candidate for that money, you want to be sure to be at the head of the line!
So juniors, your time is now. And yes, my junior class is filling up, but I still have a few slots left.
If you want to schedule a meeting to talk about researching schools or any other aspect of the college process, I’m in town over the holidays and would be happy to meet with you.
And for those seniors out there who are still working on essays, now that most of my students are done, I have time to help edit essays. Or, to help with brainstorming if you are feeling stuck! Feel free to call or email….