The Common Application, private school, and state school applications, love them or hate them, if your a high school senior, its your time to shine. This time two years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop in San Diego with my older cousin working on my personal statement, stressing that I wasn’t going to finish before the craziness of senior year started. The due dates, amount of essays, and multiple types of applications are all so overwhelming. So today, I decided to share some of my tips for staying organized during the craziness that is college application season and my apologies for this being such a length post.
For you college juniors or seniors who need study tips for the ACT/SAT or help with any kind of college application or essay, please please please don’t hesitate to email me. I tutor the seniors at my high school, and i would LOVE to help out my readers in any way possible.
You’ve probably already done this but make a list of all the schools you are thinking of applying to (around 15 – 20 schools). From there pick the schools that you would actually want to attend; the general rule is pick 9 to 12 schools. 3/4 reach (higher scores than you but possible), 3/4 target (you are right in the range and want to go there), and 3/4 safety (you can easily get in and would go there if needed). There are hundreds of websites to learn about more about the schools and scores needed. My absolute favorite website for college apps and information is College Data. You can make an account and they’ll even calculate your test scores and GPA to see what percentile you are in!
Note: Make a spreadsheet of all the schools and what you have done (Test Scores, Transcripts, LOR?, Fees). If anybody wants a super easy template for your applications, feel free to email me! I’m not able to upload a screenshot for whatever reason, or else I would.
ACT & SAT
By now you should’ve already taken the ACT or SAT, once or twice. For rising juniors, you should take your choice in test at least twice during your junior year (beginning and end). If you still aren’t happy with your score or want to do better, take any of the September through November tests! Schools don’t require test scores until January, so take the test of your choice until you get the score you want, its not fun taking a 3 hour test but it is 100% worth it in the end.
Transcripts & Recommendation Letters
This is fairly easy. Figure out what schools want you to send your transcript and ask your school’s counselor how you can do it. Many teachers want you to ask for letters of rec at the end of junior year, some say to ask at the beginning of senior year. Pick two teachers (typically from your junior year) you look up to the most and could write a good recommendation for you.
The personal statement and individual essays are all things that you will have to write in the coming months. Start brainstorming, no admission counselor wants to read the same old story of how you got hurt and rebounded. The Common App has about 5 or 6 prompts for you to chose from along with your own story; be sure to start brainstorming ASAP. I wrote my personal statement about how I was born premature. Many schools ask what you want to major in and why you want to go to the school, be sure to brainstorm these questions too. Many schools already have their apps open or the questions are somewhat the same as last year
Be aware of deadlines. Use sticky notes, iCal, Google Calendar, your planner, etc. November 1, November 15, and January 15 are the three most common days in which applications are due. Make sure to have everything done and ready at least a week before applications are due in case the website glitches (it happens a lot).
After you hit submit
Believe in yourself and have faith. You haven’t spent the past 3 years of your life cramming those APUSH flashcards or learning the Pythagorum theorem for nothing. You have given it your absolute all and all there is to do is wait. The first application I sent was to Chapman and at the time I had no desire to go there but I was incredibly nervous. Stay confident in yourself and the decisions you have made.
Here are some of my tips for all the different parts of college applications, hope you enjoy! What are some of your tips or tricks for staying organized during the most hectic time of year? Also, please be sure to comment below or email me if you have any questions, I seriously LOVE writing/reading essays and reviewing applications! (Weird I know)