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College Admissions: 6 Things Seniors Need to Do Right Now

Monday, July 11, 2016

 

Senior fall is one of the craziest times of a high schooler's life, which is why major college admissions tasks need to be taken care of before school even begins.

Parents and students often forget that early admission deadlines fall just a few weeks after school begins. In recent years, colleges have been taking an increasing number of students in the early action and early decision rounds—sometimes as much as 70% of the entering freshman class. This means that there are far fewer seats available during the regular admission round and many more applicants. Here are some things you can do now to be ready for those strategic fall application deadlines:

1. Schedule your fall SAT or ACT.

October is generally the last test date that will be scored in time for November early action or early decision deadlines. Register for the ACT at www.act.org and the SAT at www.collegeboard.com. If your colleges require SAT II Subject Tests and you have not taken them, you will also need to allow a test date for those.

2. Schedule the remainder of your college visits.

Colleges within an 8 hour drive want to know that you have visited before you apply. Studies have shown that students who do not visit within that geographic range are not likely to matriculate, and colleges want to have a good yield. Many are calculating an “interest factor” based on the type and frequency of your interaction with them, and this plays into admission decisions at many colleges.

3. Finalize your college list and know where you are applying early action and/or early decision.

You should apply to about 9 colleges, evenly divided between stretch, reasonable and backups. Early admission deadlines begin to hit October 15, with many falling November 1-December 1. University of California campuses have an unusually early regular decision deadline of November 1.

4. Finish your applications and essays well in advance of filing dates.

A good essay has been through AT LEAST 3 revisions before it is ready to submit. Your applications need to be proofed and double checked by you and a second pair of eyes before you send them. The biggest complaint I hear from admissions officers is that essays seemed rushed and applications have typos. This is one of the most important documents you will ever file, treat it that way.

5. Secure teacher recommendations.

If you did not ask 2 teachers for recommendations in the spring, you need to do it as soon as you return to school in the fall. If you have October or November deadlines, they will only have a few weeks to write your recommendation.  Also notify your guidance counselor that you will be applying to schools during early admission—they need to write a recommendation and prepare transcripts and other documents for your colleges.

6. Prepare the CSS Profile if you plan on applying for financial aid at private colleges.

This form is due when you file applications (or shortly after), unlike the FAFSA form which isn’t due until February or March at most schools. For a list of colleges that require the CSS Profile, go to: https://profileonline.collegeboard.com/prf/index.jsp.

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.

 

Related Slideshow: 10 Pieces of Advice for College Freshmen and Their Parents

Heading off to college can be a stressful time. To ease the anxiety, Cristiana Quinn, GoLocalProv's College Admissions Expert, has some sage words for children and parents alike.

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Students

1

Organize your dorm room items now, and assess what you need to ship vs. transport in the car. This will alleviate stress before you leave for school. Use a printable checklist for your dorm room, like this one

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Students

2

When you arrive at college, don't expect everything to be perfect. Your roommate, classes or sports team may not be everything that you dreamed of, and that's okay. Make the best of it, and remember that college gets easier after you adjust in the first semester. Stay in touch with friends and family from home, but transition to your new life. Don't live virtually (texting) hanging on to the past too much--live in the moment in your new community.

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Students

3

Textbooks are extremely expensive; save money by renting or buying used text at Chegg or Amazon vs. buying at the on campus bookstore.

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Students

4

Make sure you know where health services is on campus and the hours. Also, know where the closest hospital is, in case health services is closed. Visit the academic support center and learn about tutoring and study skills resources in the first week of school---BEFORE you need them.

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Students

5

Join at least 3 organizations or clubs on campus. This will give you a chance to meet a variety of people outside of your dorm and classes. Chances are that these students will be more aligned with your interests and values. Intramural sports teams, the campus newspaper, community service groups, political groups, outing clubs are all good.

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Parents

1

Don't hover at orientation and drop-offs. This is a difficult time, but resist the urge to linger.

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Parents

2

Get a healthcare proxy signed before your son/daughter goes off to campus. This is critical for students over 18, otherwise you will not have access to medical info in the case of and emergency (due to healthcare privacy laws). You need to be able to speak with doctors and make decisions remotely and quickly if anything happens.

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Parents

3

Expect some bumps in the road. Homesickness is normal, as are issues with roommates and professors. Be supportive at a distance. Never call a professor, and try not to text your child multiple times a day. This is the time to let them learn independence and more responsibility. They can deal with issues if you give them the chance.

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Parents

4

Book now for parent weekends and special events on campus for the rest of 2015-16 year. Hotels get overloaded during big weekends.

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Parents

5

Avoid pushing a major--this usually leads to unhappiness and causes stress in the family. It's good to provide students with resources, but encourage them to seek career testing and counseling on-campus with professors and the Career Center. Discuss options, but don't dictate or pressure students to select something too early.

 
 

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