Monthly College Search Update
Welcome to our monthly update on the college search and application process. Each month, we'll be updating this page and including it in our newsletter, so that all of our subscribers can have access to summaries of what they should be thinking about at this point in the college search process.
These updates will mostly focus on the junior and senior classes. Freshmen and sophomores should focus on maintaining good grades, academically pushing themselves, getting involved in extracurriculars, and making sure their summers incorporate meaningful experiences for growth.
Class of 2024
Continue College Research
Preparing for Essay Writing
Requesting Letters of Recommendation
SAT/ACT Testing: Fall exam dates are now open for registration. If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for an official ACT or SAT. While many schools will remain test-optional, others will not. Obtaining a high score on either of these exams can be helpful in college admissions, but if you’re not a great test taker, there are still thousands of incredible college opportunities that won’t require scores. Be sure to check your emails consistently, because there are often pieces that require student confirmation (and if you fail to meet those deadlines, you won’t be able to take the exam).
Continuing College Research: We’ve said this before, but the whole college application journey is a fluid experience. You may discover something new that you like, or something you thought you needed is no longer relevant or desirable. Your list can change throughout the process, but by the end of June, we’d like you to have at least a handful of schools you definitely are interested in attending so that we can best focus throughout the essay writing process that begins this month.
Demonstrating Interest: As you finalize your college list, you can also start engaging with the schools of interest. This can include scheduling an official campus visit, connecting with admissions or a specific department with questions (ideally questions that can’t easily be answered with a quick Google search), opening all emails and exploring the included links from colleges of interest, and any other form of demonstrated interest you can think of!
Preparing for Essay Writing: For students who are signed on to work with us, there is a document in your Google Drive folder called “College Essay Brainstorming Exercise”. Please review this document before our essay meeting this month! No need to take too many notes, but definitely write down ideas if they pop into your head while you read. We will be tackling the brainstorming and outlining process together so that when you go to write your first draft, you already have a foundation to build upon. Remember, these essays are unlike any you’ve had to write previously, and you can select your topic and structure. We anticipate this process to be fun, engaging, and not nearly as cumbersome or stressful as your typical English writing assignments.
Requesting Letters of Recommendation: While it may feel a little early, we highly recommend requesting your letters of recommendation before the end of Junior year. Our suggestion is to pick two teachers from this year’s core classes (math, science, history, English, foreign language), and the third can be an elective teacher or another core teacher. Ideally, the teachers from whom you request the letter should know you well, at minimum, inside the classroom. They should be able to speak to how you engage in class, with your peers, with the material, and with adults. If the teacher can also speak to who you are outside of the classroom, and/or has had you in class for more than one course, that’s always a plus.
Class of 2023
Finalizing Documents & Forms
Sending Final Transcript
Pay Attention to Emails for College Stuff
Connect with Other Students in the Incoming Class
Makes Sure Everything is in Order for Graduation
Finalizing Documents & Forms: Now that you have enrolled at your college, it’s important to complete any remaining forms required by the school, including the housing deposit and roommate survey (wherever applicable). If you are planning to take a gap year, be sure to request your deferral and follow the school’s instructions about what documentation they may require to approve the deferral. Also, be sure to get in writing whether or not your merit aid award will transfer!
Relevant Blogs: Accepting and Declining Offers of Admission
Sending Final Transcripts: Throughout this process, we have emphasized the importance of remaining honest, ethical, and transparent. This includes only submitting an enrollment deposit to one school. Your school counselor will be sending a final transcript to only one school, so if you get off a waitlist or decide to enroll elsewhere, you’ll need to keep them informed of when you withdraw the initial enrollment and where you choose to enroll and attend. Seniors ask us all the time if it’s okay if grades slip during the second semester of senior year—as long as you don’t let them slip significantly, you should be fine. A few Bs when you had all As won’t result in the school rescinding your offer of admission but receiving several Cs, Ds, or Fs may be problematic. Keep us informed about how things are going (or how they went for those who have already graduated) and we will help you navigate the process as needed.
Pay Attention to Emails for College Stuff: We cannot stress this enough—Start checking your email at least once a day! This is particularly important for graduating/graduated seniors because it’s how colleges will communicate with you about anything they need as you transition into their school. This includes move-in information, course registration, orientation, etc.
Important Documents: Many students and families don’t think about this, but when a student turns 18 and heads off to college, there are some important documents to consider having in place, including a Medical Power of Attorney. Additionally, some schools may also require specific documentation for vaccines in order to be eligible to live in the dorms. Each school will have different requirements, so be sure to check your portal for more information!
Connect with Other Students in the Incoming Class: Most students are probably already doing this, but now that you’re enrolled, consider connecting with other incoming students on social media. There are even parent groups to join! You may not find your future best friends this way, but you’ll at least be familiar with some other students when you all arrive at orientation.
Make Sure Everything is in Order for Graduation: For those of you who have not yet graduated, please make sure everything at your high school is in order before graduation! If it isn’t, they can withhold your diploma which can result in the offer of admission being rescinded. The things we are talking about: library book returns/unpaid fees, completion of all coursework, returning of textbooks, and anything else required by your high school.