If you’re looking for answer to your college admissions questions, you’ve come to the right page! Q + A is a series of topical articles centering around all the questions that pop into Sarah’s curious, newbie brain and the wisdom from Jess’s knowledgeable, expert brain.
Today’s Topic is: Help! I’m a senior in high school and I have no idea what I’m doing!
Q: It’s senior year. My extracurriculars and GPA for the most part have been established. I’ve chosen my courses for senior year and finished all of my testing. I feel like there’s not much that I can do now to boost my application. What part of my application can I still be working on?
Jess: Essays! Your essays are one of the only opportunities to tell the school who you are as a person, in your own voice. Through these essays, you have the ability to show demonstrated interest in your schools of choice and that you’ve done your research.
Q: Where should I be in the college application process right now?
Jess: It is important to remember that this is a very personal journey, so each Senior is going to be at a different place in the process. Ideally, you have a pretty solid idea of what your final college list looks like, and you have figured out what you need to complete for each school. Consider creating some sort of “organizer” to keep track of each element. Using that organizer, make a calendar that allows you to get each piece completed before the deadlines!
Q: Besides essays, what else can I do to improve my chances of college admittance?
Jess: It’s really all about embracing the process and making sure it’s not only about increasing likelihood of admittance but about making the best choice for yourself in the spring; So use your resources, continue building relationships with the teachers you’re tight with and ask them for letters of recommendations, go to college fairs in your area, and find ways to show demonstrated interest. Also, keep your grades up - that's really important.
Q: How can I show a school that I’m interested in them?
Jess: Not all schools are going to be measuring demonstrated interested, but taking some of these steps will help you learn more about a school regardless! Figure out who your regional admissions representative is for each school. If it seems appropriate, send them a quick email telling them what you (specifically) like about their school, and ask about their travel calendar for fall. Even if they are not coming to your school, they might be in the area. If they are coming to your school, be sure to go see their talk! It is a great time to gather info, and get your questions answered. Have you toured campus? This isn’t available for all students due to the time/cost involved in travel, but if you can get on campus and take an official tour, it will give you a really good sense about whether you can see yourself on that campus.
Q: What are some additional tasks I should be doing that are easy to forget?
Jess: Don’t forget to order any transcripts you might need from your school. Once you have completed testing, don’t forget to send your ACT/SAT scores. Lastly, be sure to have followed up with your teachers and counselors about Letters of Recommendation.
Q: Any last words of advice for dealing with the stress of college applications?
Jess: Yes! Make senior year about finding your own limits. Senior year is the height of all your activities and socially as well, so it’d be good to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness (this is so California of me to say) means setting aside time for yourself and for family amidst all the college craziness. It might also mean every time somebody asks you what your top choice school is, ignoring them. Remember, it’s short term work for the long term gain of a college that’s right for you.
We hope we’ve answered some of your burning questions and invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org with your own questions that might be featured in this series.