As another school year winds to a close with a flurry of final exams and AP tests, we begin to say our goodbyes to the class of 2017. Their college decisions made and summer jobs or internships procured, the focus now shifts to the high school class of 2018. It’s now your turn.
I’m sure many of you watched as some of your senior friends stressed over college applications – trying to perfect their admissions and / or scholarship essay(s), all the while attempting to maintain their GPA w/ a rigorous course load, squeezing an extra point or two on the ACT, and keeping up with their busy extracurricular schedule. You may have even envied them a bit as they missed school to visit college campuses. It’s now your turn.
So, class of 2018, what are you waiting for? Over the summer, you should be working on building your resume with worthwhile activities (college summer programs, community service, leadership training, mission trips…), researching colleges that fit the criteria you should have already set, visiting those colleges, and whittling your list down to the select few worthy of your time and effort when it comes time to apply.
Many colleges across the country (and some international) accept The Common Application. And, while the application itself will not become available until later this summer, they have been kind enough to release the essay prompts already: http://www.commonapp.org/whats-appening/application-updates/common-application-announces-2017-2018-essay-prompts So if you’re stressed about the all important college essay, get started early and work on a couple of drafts over the summer. There are plenty of resources on-line to help you develop a topic so I won’t bore you with that here, but spend some time really thinking about what you want the colleges to know about you that they can’t already tell by reading your application.
The more selective the college, the more important your extra-curriculars become. At the most selective schools, it’s not enough to have a stellar GPA and standardized test score – countless worthy applicants are rejected every year by some of the more prestigious institutions – your application needs to stand out in some way (and the same can be said for the top scholarships at less selective colleges). So what can you do between now and the application deadlines to improve your resume and stand out among your peers?
Speaking of the “prestigious institutions”; Are those types of schools really for you? Even if you have a realistic shot at getting accepted to an Ivy, for example, does it meet the criteria you’ve set for yourself? College isn’t, nor should it be, a one-size-fits-all scenario. Every one is different and every student is different. You need to find the school where you’ll be given the best chance to succeed, even if it’s not a traditional “brand name” college.
Class of 2018 – you have your work cut out for you. It’s not going to be an easy road, and it’s not supposed to be. But take advantage of the months ahead and plan wisely. If you do, the stress levels won’t be nearly as high as they could be otherwise.
The College Project is available to advise and assist students through this process.
It’s now your turn!