March is here and the Seniors are waiting to hear back from the remainder of their colleges, while counselors have shifted our focus of work onto the Juniors.
Update your colleges
If you have news of honors or awards or great grades, be sure to update your colleges with this information as it can really help to push you over the edge if they are on the fence about you, or deciding between you and another applicant. Do not delay with this information, nor be over zealous and send them your “Best Bagger at the Grocery Store” award.
Tell your top choice college it’s your top choice
Colleges are not mind readers, so TELL them when you really really really know you want to be someplace.
Continue to get great grades / Send Mid Year Reports now
Many colleges will ask to see your Senior year grades, so be sure to ask your counselor to send the Mid Year Report to all colleges who would like it.
Create a college list
It’s time! Use the college search tool on CollegeMapper and get yourself a list of 30 schools to start with. As you research a random few you will start to see which criteria matter to you and then you will be able to narrow the list pretty quickly. Taking it down from 15 to that final 8-10 is always the hardest part!
Take the SAT and ACT
Be sure to take both tests, and start now if you haven’t already because you want to try to be finished by end of Junior year. Be sure to prep for the tests, too.
You simply must be volunteering now. Be aware that all college aplications will ask you to list about 7-10 clubs and activities you have been involved in.
Prepare for leadership
Most students get positions of leadership during Senior year, so start lining one up for yourself now. You don’t need more than 1 really, and you certainly don’t need 3 or 4. Aim for things like: captain, coach, mentor, officer, founder, counselor, chairperson, group leader, etc
It’s time for Juniors to visit some campuses and begin to see which sorts of colleges are the best fit. Try to visit while school is session, and be sure to download the CollegeMapper handout on visits. These visits help you understand what you are looking for in a school.
Keep your grades up
You really need to keep your grades up now because the GPA you have in June is the GPA you will apply to college with. You do not receive any Senior year grades before you apply. Colleges want to see what sort of a student you are right now, just before they consider you, so really do your best.
Choose summer plans
Do something academic and interesting this summer, even if it’s just for 3 days. There are all sorts of camps, workshops, seminars and conferences you can attend, and many of them are right in your own city. Juniors simply must do something college app oriented this summer, and aim for something that will help you decide what to major in.
Sophs and Frosh:
Protect your GPA
You need to do all you can to succeed academically right now. Your high school grades matter–every one of them–and if you need academic support, or a quiet place to study, or a different way to study, *speak up*! You need to advocate for yourself and protect your future, so do what you need to do to make success a reality.
Get involved in a club
Find at least one club that you can join and try to be in it for 4 years of high school. Don’t join so many that your grades suffer; just do a few things well.
Do some volunteer work
You guys really need to be volunteering now, so get started somewhere that matters to you. Try to serve at a place where you really believe in the cause and don’t expect to have a super important job right away. Be willing to start small and move up, but get in there now.
Choose some summer plans
You need to be thinking about how you will spend your summer. We have a great list of ideas on the CollegeMapper website under Resources. Always check your public library, too, because they will have things going on and postings of offerings near by. Explore new interests in the summer and have fun!
Remember, at the end of the day, you are going to be accepted to multiple colleges and you will have multiple excellent choices. Do not be afraid. I have always seen it work out for every student, every single time. You end up exactly where you are meant to be, so do your best and don’t stress.