Students ending their junior years are arriving at a pivotal time in their lives. Wrapping up what is likely the most difficult and demanding year in the high school career, these teenagers are radiating with the excitement of soon entering the final year. Time, especially in the summer, can easily escape the high school student, deceptively disguising itself as offering more than it does. In what seems like a quick blink, the summer ends, and suddenly students rush to complete the to-do list of the college search. For those students finishing up their third years in high school, we’ve got some suggestions for being proactive and productive in your summer college search process.
The list of schools to visit and “test out” is endless. Squeeze in as many school visits as you can. It’s okay to walk onto a college campus and not feel that instant “This Is The One” feeling. Keep an open mind by having a long list of options from which to eventually narrow down. Want to schedule a visit to Marist this summer? Click here. You won’t want to miss the Hudson in this summertime weather.
2. Pencil It In.
Colleges vary in their application deadlines. Whether you plan on applying early action, early decision, or regular decision, you’ll want to know when each deadline is set. We suggest going through your list of schools, finding each school’s deadline, and pencilling it in on a calendar. Keep yourself organized to keep yourself sane.
Perhaps you’re ahead of the pack and you’ve already taken the tests once or twice before. Sweet! Don’t be afraid to take them again, especially if you’re less than thrilled with the results from your prior attempt. Find some time to research which days and months the tests are being administered in your area, and plan when you want to take the first, second,-and for the perfectionist-,third times. If testing isn’t really your thing, fear not. Marist is a test-optiontial school, which gives you the chance of wowing us with your essay.
4. Speaking of essays…
Get started early. On the night before your dream school’s application deadline, you’ll thank yourself for avoiding the plague of procrastination. While some colleges use the Common Application, others use their own applications, and some colleges use both (like Marist does!). All applications will be accompanied with an essay question, and some will even have a few prompts from which to choose. Once you have narrowed down your list of top schools, take a look at their applications and essay questions, and start brainstorming some creative ways to tell your story. The application essay is your chance to show your choice school who you are outside of the classroom, off of the grade books. I found comfort in knowing Marist wasn’t simply looking at my test scores or grade point average – they were taking the “whole package” into account, and that made all the difference.
Check out 10 Great Opening Lines from Stanford Admissions Essays for some inspiration on how to grab admissions counselors’ attention in the first five seconds of reading your essay.
5. Get acquainted with your go-to person.
None other than your guidance counselor. If you haven’t already met with your school’s advisor, begin initiating some correspondence. Your guidance counselor/advisor will be your fountain of answers in your crowded land of questions. Let him or her know your plan, the schools you are looking at, with any questions you might have. They want to make this process as painless as possible for both you and your parents, because ultimately, all they want is to see you succeed. Don’t be too proud or too nervous to ask questions, even if you think they’re silly ones. We all had to start from the beginning to get where we are now. As my high school president said in our commencement speech a few years back: “You don’t know that you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Last but not least, folks: soak it all in. You’re growing up fast, and the years aren’t going by any slower, so try to savor every good moment and memory you can. The times you have during this last year of high school will be the memories you carry with you into college. And when you’re sitting in your freshman dorm room for the first time, you’ll wonder how time can move so quickly sometimes. So, with the time you do have, make the most of it.
Have any questions/comments/concerns to share with Marist College Admissions? Let us know in the comment section. We’d love to hear from you.