Planning out the Application process

There are many steps and requirements in the college application process. In the beginning, you will want to be preparing for the SAT test, exploring your options, and planning for campus tours and information sessions at colleges that you want to consider. This is the time to narrow your list of colleges to a manageable pool where you will be sending applications. Once you have a list of the colleges where you will be applying, it is time to focus on completing all of the application materials for each school.

Time management and organizational skills are critical to the process. You will also hone your information-gathering skills. During your campus tour and visit with the admissions office, you may have learned about the admissions requirements. You will want to locate all of the information for each college and put together a master chart of the materials that each school will require in your application packet. Create a chart with parts that you can check off for each school and be sure to list the application deadlines for each individual college where you will be submitting an application-the deadlines will also vary between colleges. Having this master chart will help you to feel organized, manage your applications, and be confident that you are sending complete applications to each college.

Many colleges use a general application, sometimes referred to as the “common app”, but these schools may still require supplemental short-answer questions, forms, or other materials from applicants. Requirements about letters of recommendation often vary slightly as well. Other schools will have their own unique application that you will need to complete. It is important for you to have all of your information before you begin the process. This will help to avoid any problems close to the deadline. If you have questions about the requirements, you can always contact the admissions office for answers.

Your high school guidance counselor can be another source of support as you are taking the SAT test, balancing your high school course load, and completing college applications. He or she has helped many students prepare college applications and can help you to get organized and keep deadlines. Make an appointment early in the process to be sure that you are on track and ask any questions that you may have about college applications.

Planning out your college applications can be a lengthy and detailed process, but with good organization and some hard work, your applications will arrive complete and on-time. A well-planned college application is the first step towards getting into the right school for you.

Choosing a college major

As you prepare for the SAT with online practice exams, complete SAT test prep, and prepare for test day, many students begin to think seriously about college and their options for the future.

For some students, choosing a major will not be a difficult decision. If you have known what you want to do after college for awhile, you can take this knowledge into account as you are choosing a college. Knowing your major early on gives you the opportunity to speak with professors in your intended major, ask about the program and find out what alumni from that major are doing now.

For other students, choosing a major is a decision that can feel overwhelming. At most colleges, it is completely normal for students to be undecided during the first year of college. This is something that you can ask about during college visits. Many schools have required classes that will fill up your first few semesters and allow you to try courses from many different departments. This is a great way to try new things and find the major that will be the best fit for you.

When choosing a major, it is important to consider the type of job you would like to have after college. If your career path is undecided or could accommodate many different majors, your best plan is to consider your academic strengths and interests. Choosing a major that you love will ensure that you put a lot of effort into your classes and finish college with a strong academic record. This will help you as you apply for graduate school, apply for fellowships after college, or look for your first job.

It’s also important to plan your course schedule to be sure that you will graduate on time with your major. Good planning will also allow you the option of adding a second major, minor, or concentration if you would like to take courses in different areas. These are all great ways to add another interest to your academic track and a good way to set your resume apart from others.

It is also common for students to change majors during college. This is always easier to do sooner rather than later, while you still have plenty of time to complete the course load. Before changing your major, you will want to speak with your current academic adviser and a professor in the department that you are considering. Find out just what the switch will entail and then you will be able to decide if it the right choice.

Senior Year Planning for High School Students

Planning for the senior year of high school can be both an exciting and stressful time for many students. It is a time when balance is critical and students are working to maintain their current academics with SAT tutoring and solidifying plans for the years after graduation. By sitting down and planning out the senior year, students can ensure that they successfully maneuver this critical year.

Preparing college applications is a priority for most students and taking the SAT should be at the top of their to-do list. Students will want to begin SAT test prep early so that they will be well prepared for test day. Taking an SAT course or finding a program that offers SAT tutoring are both great option for students looking for ways to prepare for the test. SAT test prep involves studying the content of the SAT, becoming familiar with the format of the test, and taking practice tests. A good SAT course will be reflected through a student’s confidence and preparedness on test day.

It is important for students to plan ahead when it comes to choosing classes for senior year. They should not only look at their high school’s requirements, but at the course requirements for their top college choices. Many have preferences regarding the number of years in high school that students should have taken each of the major subjects. Colleges may also have requirements about foreign language and offer students a chance to place into a higher level or test out of a requirement if they have completed additional years of language in high school. Choosing to take advanced placement (AP) classes can make for a tougher academic year, but can also help students to test out of required courses during their first year of college.

Keeping up with extracurricular activities such as sports, clubs, and volunteer work, can be tough during senior year, but can also help students to shine on college applications. Students may also be working to maintain a part-time job. Staying organized is not only the key to a successful senior year, but can help students to hone the organizational skills that will benefit them during college.

Students will need to work hard senior year to stay in control of their academic schedules and maintain a good GPA and SAT prep schedule. These will be important factors in their college application process. With a solid schedule, it will be possible to make time for college campus visits, extracurricular activities, and everything else that students will want to fit into their senior year.

Considerations When Applying to Your College Safety Schools

A safety school is a college where, due to your grades and test scores, you are almost certain to be accepted. For most students, it is best to incorporate a safety school into their list of colleges during the application process. A safety school can help ease anxiety about the college application process during a time when maintaining grades and completing SAT test prep are still top priorities. While many students apply to a safety school only to have a back-up option if other schools don’t offer acceptance, there are still important things to consider before selecting your safety schools.

Choose Schools That You Like
No one should apply to a college that they wouldn’t want to attend. Make your safety schools worth your time and effort by choosing schools that have something that appeals to you. Just because a school is sure to offer you acceptance, doesn’t mean its program is any worse than a school where admission is more difficult. Choose one with a good program in your tentative major or one with a lot of good extracurricular options. Plan campus visits to your safety schools and take time to learn about them. Also consider where the school is located and be sure it is a place you can actually see yourself living during college. Choosing a safety school where you can picture yourself learning and growing for four years will make it feel like less of a safety school and more of a real option.

Do Your Best Work
While it’s tempting to put more effort into applications for your top choice schools, it’s worth your time to do your best on every application that you submit. In addition to preparing your applications and writing good essays, it is critical to maintain your high school grades and make time for SAT test preparation. A good SAT test prep program will prepare you for the SAT and give you the confidence to do well. If you have a busy senior year schedule, consider online SAT test prep as a good option for SAT test preparation. It will often allow you more control over the schedule and online SAT test prep programs can prepare you just as well as a formal class.

Consider Financial Aid
Before applying to your colleges, consider what would happen if you were offered an exceptional financial aid offer to one of your safety schools. Would it be worth attending your second choice college if they were offering a full scholarship? This answer will be different for everyone and will depend on many factors. The subject of financial aid is an important thing to consider and a good conversation to have with a parent or guardian before you are faced with making a decision under a deadline.

Senior Year Planning

Senior year of high school can be an extremely busy time. Many deadlines and decisions are on the horizon and it can be overwhelming for students to balance all of their responsibilities. Developing a solid plan for senior year can help you to avoid stress and assure that everything is done on time.

Fall

The fall of senior year is often the time students choose to devote to taking the SAT. Schedule the test and begin to devote time to studying and preparing for the test. Online test prep is one good option to help SAT test prep fit into an already busy school schedule.

The fall is also the time to seriously narrow down college options. Once you have a list of the schools where you will be applying, organize important dates and deadlines onto a master calendar.

Researching financial aid is another important task for the fall. This involves researching student loan options, scholarships and grants, and options available at each of your colleges.

Winter

Winter of senior year is the time to focus on completing college applications. Many will use the same common application supplemented by some additional questions and information. Take time to write your essays and be sure they are a good reflection of your strengths. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendations early on in the process so that you give your teachers, guidance counselors, and employers plenty of time to write the recommendation.

Once everything is complete, be sure to double check that all parts of the application are there and send them in. Most high schools will provide resources to help students prepare the final application packet.

At this point, many colleges will also want to schedule a personal interview. This is both a time for the college to speak with you and gain additional insight into your application and also a time for you to ask questions about the selection process and why you should choose their college. Viewing the interview as a conversation will keep you from being nervous and help you get the most out of this experience.

Spring

By spring of senior year, you will have heard back from your colleges and it is time to focus on making a decision. If you were accepted to multiple schools, it is often worthwhile to visit these colleges once again. These campus visits can help you to make a confident decision. While on campus, you will want to take another tour, sit in on a class, and talk to current students about their college experience. Be sure to ask plenty of questions of students, staff, and representatives in the admissions office.

Before making a decision, you will also want to discuss your plans with your family, particularly concerning financial aid and how you will be paying for college. Once you have reached a decision, send out your acceptance and rejection letters to all the colleges that accepted you. Your school will soon be sending you more information and you’ll be busy planning for next year. You can now proudly announce your college plans and enjoy the conclusion of your high school career.


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