Class of 2021 Application Season Preparation

In less than 11 months, the Class of 2021 students will be done with their college applications and will begin receiving their early action application results shortly after. Here are a few things  to start focusing on to ensure you’ll be ready to begin the applications!

1. Project your GPA

Schools will be asking about the student’s academic history through the summer after their junior year (for the most part). The colleges will ask what courses the students are taking their senior year, but only some of the schools ask for mid-year grades. Knowing their GPA will help you to determine the likelihood that your student will get accepted.

2. Standardized Tests

It’s good idea to take the SAT or ACT (with the writing options) at least twice before the end of their junior year; it will help make the process of building a balanced list of schools before the summer easier so your child can start their applications during the summer. It would be even more helpful if you could get some test results before Spring Break in April so that you can go visit some colleges to get a sense if they would be a good fit. This way, if you’re going to spend the time and money to go visit schools, you already know the chances of getting accepted. Don’t forget about checking for potential subject test requirements or recommendations from different universities. The last thing you want your child to have to do is study for a test in a subject that they finished 3 months to 18 months prior.

3. Profile Development

Many colleges ask about a student’s profile. With record numbers of applications being submitted to universities every year, having a strong profile is the way your student will stand out next to another student with the same academic ability. They’re going to ask about leadership roles, community service, extracurricular activities, special talents, achievements, awards, and work experience. The applications will ask what year the student was involved in these activities, and how many hours per week and weeks per year they’re involved in them. Please plan to get involved in advance, and don’t wait until the last minute to try to get involved. At this point, you should be really considering a major and starting to build your profile to support your academic interests.

4. Campus visits

Start to plan some trips to visit colleges while they’re in session. Take the campus tour and visit the departments they’re interested in majoring in. You want to know what the differences are between how they’ll help your student with their educational goals. Also, many of these colleges are asking why a student would want to attend their university. If you visit some schools, you’ll have some material for your application essays and will gain some perspective on what they like versus what they do not like. Having this experience makes it easier for you to write these essays.

5. Create a Balanced List of Schools

When applying to colleges, students and their families need a balanced list of schools for multiple reasons.

Check out our blog on applying to a balanced list of schools.

6. Summer Plans

Summertime before senior year should be spent working on applications and anything that can support their applications before they go in. Many of these applications are asking why the students are interested in going into the major they’re selecting. If the student gets some exposure or involved in activities that can help them learn more about an academic area, it will give them more material for their applications and help develop their “passion” for their academic areas. Academic programs, summer courses at a college, and internships are just a few of the ways a student can provide evidence of their academic interests.

7. Gear Up for Application Season

Application season is a busy time. Getting organized, setting deadlines, and meeting those deadlines is critical. Students and parents sometimes underestimate the time involved in the process. Our average student applies to 14 schools on average and has average of 16 essays they’ll need to write. Most of our students typically take 4 drafts to get to their final draft so you need time on your side! That means you need to start draft one to get to draft two and so on and so forth. This is not something you should wait until the last minute to complete. On top of this, by the time a student is about to enter their senior year, they are typically now involved in more activities than ever, taking on their most difficult courses, and have the most active social life. This means that you’ll need to fit college applications on top of it all, so be sure to start early.

There many things that can be done over the next year to make this an easier process. Every student is unique and different; it’s time to put a plan together and make it happen. Get started today!