January 15, 2023
By Leanne Soulard
Happy New Year! Now that 2023 is officially underway, high school juniors are getting ready to embark on their college planning journeys. At College Edge, our core belief is that this process should be fun and enjoyable for all students, whether they are working with a private college counselor or not.
The college search and application process has upwards of 20 various tasks associated with it, which can feel overwhelming to students and parents. Even if you have an older sibling or child that has gone through the process, every student is different and each journey has its own ups and downs (though, hopefully, more ups than downs). The good news is that the tasks don’t change all that much and, if you can stay organized, you will have the positive and enjoyable experience that we want for all of our students.
Here’s the short list for this winter and spring:
If you took the PSAT in October, review your score report. While many schools have extended their test-optional admissions policies to the Class of 2024, not all of them have. It’s best to be prepared in the event that you need to submit test scores as part of your application. See our December blog post for more on this. Register to take the SAT and/or the ACT at least once this spring.
Begin to develop your initial college list because 1) it’s fun, and 2) it’s absolutely necessary so that you can plan campus visits and information sessions. The biggest regret that many students have at the end of their journey is that they didn’t visit more campuses during junior year. If you’re considering schools that are far away, a virtual information session will suffice. You have to do the research, no exceptions. (Pro tip: take an official tour, even if you have a sibling or friend that goes to a school you are considering. Your friend likely can’t help you with specific admissions questions.)
Meet with your guidance counselor to review your transcript, discuss your initial college list, and plan courses for next year. Colleges care a lot about your senior year schedule, so make sure you’re choosing courses that they’ll be looking for. Some majors have certain prerequisites or particular courses they expect seniors to take. And how do you know what they’re looking for? See our Pro Tip above.
If you can accomplish these preliminary tasks by the end of the school year, you will be on target and ready to dive into the application work over the summer. Stay tuned for future tips about how to write an outstanding college essay and highlight your extracurricular activities in future posts!
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