Category: For Students
How would you like to spend your senior year? Would you like to spend it harried, running around frantically trying to complete your college applications? Or would you rather complete your college applications early so that you can enjoy your senior year without worries of essay prompts and recommendations in the forefront of your mind?
If you chose the latter, then you should start the application process this summer. Getting a head start on the Common Application will not only save you a ton of stress, but will also help you stay organized during the process.
It’s your senior year and you're probably feeling just as excited as you are exhausted. You don’t know what the future holds, but you’re hoping that college is your next big step. After all, you’ve paid your dues: you’ve taken the standardized tests, made good grades, volunteered when needed, and also took on extracurricular activities from sports to band – all to impress a panel of strangers who hold the key to your future in their hands.
Clearly, the college admissions process can be an emotional rollercoaster. And at this point in the process, most students will decide that they’ve done all that they can do to convince admissions to select them over another candidate.
Blaming senioritis, seniors everywhere will convince themselves that their last year of high school doesn’t really matter to colleges. Many students will be tempted to slack off and will make the mistake of cruising through their senior year, hoping to avoid taking anything that could be considered academically rigorous.
But before you write-off your senior year as nothing more than a waiting period until your “real” life starts, consider using your senior year instead as a way to prepare for the academic rigor of college. Furthermore, enrolling in certain types of courses can help you earn credit in high school that you can use later in college.
Below are a few ideas of what courses to take during your senior year and why...
The summer after your junior year does not have to be filled with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to sit around worrying and wondering if you’ve done everything you need to do to be noticed and hopefully selected by the college of your choice. In fact, if planned ahead of time, the summer after your junior year can be the perfect opportunity to participate in a few activities that will not only make your summer memorable, but also help add substance to your college application.
While your peers worry about making a last ditch, herculean effort to impress the college admissions office by prepping for yet another standardized test, consider using your summer vacation to invest your personal time in activities that not only interest you, but will serve to impress an admissions officer or two.
What comes to mind when you think of living on campus? Unlimited freedom? Silly shenanigans? Crazy parties? Understandably, most people associate the quintessential college experience with wild, debauchery-filled times. And in the minds of many, the setting for all that debauchery is usually the college dorm. Contrary to what you’ve seen on television, there’s a lot more to living on campus than just wild parties. In fact, there are many benefits to living on campus that go beyond what’s been depicted in movies about college life. Below are a few of the lesser-discussed benefits of living on campus and a few downsides to consider, as well.
You’ve taken too many college entrance exams to name. You also made sure to take every Advanced Placement course your high school offered. You’ve been in extracurricular activities since you were in 9th grade and for the most part you’re ready to handle any challenge thrown at you, but that was before you realized the college of your choice highly recommends interviews.
Now you’re nervous. You don’t know what to expect. What should you say? Should you be yourself? Should you be formal? How should you dress? What type of questions will they ask you?
The person most qualified to answer these common questions that most prospective freshmen ask themselves is a private counselor. With the help of a private college counselor, you’ll have the direct assistance of a knowledgeable professional whose life work is dedicated to getting students like you into college. You might be thinking to yourself, is it really worth the money to pay for a private counselor to help you ace the dreaded college interview? And the answer is an emphatic yes.
Let’s say that you’re a top ranking student. You’re in the top 5% of your class due to your high GPA. Your SAT, ACT and AP scores are enviable. You also are well-rounded and your extra-curricular activities are just as important to you as your academic pursuits. You excel in high school. In fact, your guidance counselor frequently tells you that you’re one of the best prepared students in your graduating class. And as a result, you’re going to be recognized with an award for outstanding achievement the following day.
But then you go to school the next morning and you find out that you’re not in the top 5% of your class any more. Confused, you try to find out why. And you’re given a conflicting and arguably ridiculous excuse that the formula used to determine high-achieving students has changed. The school no longer cares that you have a high GPA, your test scores aren’t important, and your extra-curricular activities are just seen as well, extra, but not really necessary. And because of the school’s new ranking system, you go from being in the top 5% of your class, to barely ranking at all.
You’re confused, upset, and outraged. And rightfully so. You worked hard for what you achieved and now a random new way of ranking has made you seem less competitive with your peers.
You’re probably saying to yourself, this won’t happen to me, right? Well, probably not, but for many colleges and universities that were once seen as top colleges, this is exactly what happened, virtually overnight.
You may have impressive standardized test scores, and an equally impressive GPA and class rank, but those are only numbers. In such a competitive college admissions landscape, if you have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd of freshman hopefuls by completing an in-person college interview, then by all means, seize the opportunity. You want the admissions office to see you as more than just a few numbers on a piece of paper and the way to do that is to impress them through the college interview.
First of all, the college interview isn’t as intimidating as it sounds, so if you’re worried about it---don’t be. Much like your personal statement or admissions essay, the college interview provides you with the opportunity to showcase your personality. More than that, it gives you a chance for the college of your choice to discover more about you than what your scores on various tests reflect. Hence, the college interview can be a great opportunity to let your personality shine and also a great opportunity for those students with less than stellar scores to truly stand out.
Instead of looking at the interview as another obstacle in the gauntlet known as the college admissions process, view the interview as at least one aspect of the admissions process that you can ultimately control. And that control comes from being prepared.
You’re staring at your computer screen trying to come up with the next word to type. You glance over at the time and realize that you’ve been staring at the same sentence for the past hour. And the sad part is, it’s the opening sentence of the introductory paragraph. That means, technically, you’ve done pretty much nothing. But this isn’t because you haven’t tried. You’ve been trying all morning. But you’re struggling with your approach to the topic. You know what you should write, but getting those words on the screen have become a challenge. And the reason? You don’t want to write a run-of-the-mill essay. You don’t want to write anything that the admissions board has already seen. You want your essay to stand out. Well take a deep breath, step away from the keyboard and when you’re ready to write again, try to incorporate the tips below to create a winning essay that will truly stand out from the rest.