In a few short weeks members of the The Class of 2018 will receive their diplomas, and the Class of 2019 is set to begin focusing on their college application process. Applying to college remains very competitive regardless of the academic profile of the student. Admission rates continue to be in the low teens to single digits and Ivy League schools can no longer be considered a safety school for even the strongest students.
Students with high GPA/class ranks, as well as those with low GPA/class ranks, can do themselves a huge favor by starting their process early and being realistic about their chances of gaining admission. You can wait till September, but some application deadlines are now as early as mid-October and everyone should want to put their best foot forward on their applications.
Getting a jump start on the college application process is THE best way of reducing the stress and can easily be done by making sure the following tasks are completed by the end of the summer.
• Check your transcript - All students should get a copy of their unofficial transcript and check it for accuracy. Are the classes listed and corresponding grades correct? Will all the state mandated requirements for graduation be met by June 2018 - especially important for those who might attended more than one high school? It is the student's responsibility to make sure this document is correct.
• SAT/ACT scores - One of the three key pieces needed in order to apply, it's not too late to take or retake either of these tests. The next SAT/ SAT Subject Test test date is August 25th with a registration deadline of July 27th. The next available ACT test date is July 14th with a June 15th registration deadline. Note: These test dates are not available in all states.
• Extra Curricular Activities - All students are so much more than their grades and how they spend their time outside of school speaks volumes to admission officers. See what qualifies as an extra curricular activity and remember the golden rule: quality over quantity.
• Campus Visits - No campus visit is ever a waste of time because much can be learned about what a student is looking for in a college after having visited a school they don't like. Keep track of the little things and listen to your intuition. Few spots on a campus will better tell you if the school is a good personal fit than the cafeteria, library and dorms so make sure to visit them.
• College List - Research and create a balanced draft list of schools. It will see many revisions throughout the summer with a final list coming together in September. Make sure you would love to attend any school on your list, regardless of whether they are reach, target or safety schools.
• Common App - With its new members, students can now use the Common App to apply to over 800 colleges and universities. Two great new tools were introduced last year: Common App Rollover and Common App Ready. Create an account today and begin getting familiar with the application.
Common App Rollover allows members of the Class of 2019 to create an account while still juniors with that information rolling over when the Common app relaunches on August 1, 2018. Common App Ready is a series of tutorials available to students and their parents to help them familiarize themselves with the application.
• College essay - Before you put pencil to paper make sure you understand the purpose of the colege essay because even for strong students the essay has the potential to be a deal breaker and its importance should never be under estimated. This year's Common App prompts again leave students with a lot of freedom to write about something that will best provide schools with a glimpse into their personality and character. Select a topic on its merits, and if necessary, tweak it to fit a prompt, not the other way around.
College Apps Made Easy would like to wish all the students whom it assisted this year with their college applications all the best. Together, we spent a lot of time selecting schools that were a good fit both academically and personally and writing strong essays that resulted in numerous letters of acceptance. All that hard work will ensure success and an overall better college experience. Congratulations!!