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Five Things for High School Seniors To Do Now

For high school seniors, college application deadlines are just around the corner. Here are five things to do now, to be ready for fall application deadlines.

For high school seniors, college application deadlines are just around the corner. Here are five things to do now, to be ready for fall application deadlines.

1. Finalize the college list and know the due dates. Generally, I recommend that students apply to no more than nine colleges, including stretch, match and safe schools. College application deadlines vary, and some schools have application due dates as early as October. For each school on your final college list, decide whether to apply early decision, early action or regular decision. Record the application and financial aid due dates.

2. Schedule Fall tests. If you haven’t taken the SAT or ACT, or want to take them again, check that the scores will be available by the college due dates, and then register. October is often the last test date that will be scored in time.

3. Schedule college visits. Many colleges use “enthusiasm to attend” as one of their admissions criteria. Visiting is an excellent way to demonstrate your enthusiasm and to learn more about the college. If possible, schedule an interview when you visit.  You may be able visit some colleges that are in session, before high school resumes. 

4. Get teacher recommendations. If you did not ask teachers for recommendations in the Spring, do it as soon as school starts. Notify your guidance counselor if you will be applying to schools early admission, since they also need to prepare a recommendation and get other materials ready for your applications.

5. Finish applications, including essays early. Your applications are critical and should be treated as such. Your essays will take time to write and revise.  Plan enough time to revise each essay three or four times.  Make sure to proofread your applications, including essays carefully.

What else would you add to this list?

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Maurice Saunders August 24, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Josh & PJ_Wolf - Thanks for the explanations.
Rana Slosberg August 24, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Keeping up with deadlines is critical. Often the high school guidance office provides a list of available local scholarships and due dates. Make sure to get your scholarship applications in on time. For most students, the bulk of their financial aid comes through the college, as need-based and/or merit aid.
Rana Slosberg August 24, 2012 at 09:48 PM
A good way to tell whether a school is safe, a match, or a stretch is to use the scattergrams in Naviance, which shows the GPAs and test scores of students from your high school who were accepted or denied admission to particular colleges. Grades, test scores, and the percent of students the college accepts are key elements in deciding whether the school is a stretch, match or safe school. The safe school(s) should include at least one school that meets all three of the following criteria: (1) the student can get definitely get into the school, (2) the family can afford the school, even if the student does not get financial aid, and (3) the student would be happy attending the school.
clyde donovan August 25, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Don't go to a stretch school. Find some place that fits you. Don't go to Ohio State if you're a small-school person. Don't go away if you you like living at home. Go to a nearby community or state college instead. Don't go to West Virgina University if you can't hold your liquor. If you can't figure out what you want to do with your life, major in business. Everything has something - in some way - to do with business.
Rana Slosberg August 27, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Your stretch schools should fit you as well.

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