Monday, May 9, 2016

Cougars Use Your Summer Wisely

Here are the Top 10 Things to Do Over The Summer if You are a Rising Senior!

  1. Make a list of prospective schools – Investigate all of your options.  You should have an idea of your goals at this point.  These are points to consider:
    • Do you want to stay close to home?
    • Do you want to attend a small, mid size, or large institution?
    • Do you want to compete at a very selective school or are you interested in a less competitive atmosphere?
    • Are you looking for a demanding academic environment?
    • Do you want to live on campus?
    • What type of financial assistance will I need to attend at my choice schools?
    • Does the school have majors that interest me?
  2. Know what the admission criteria for that particular school looks like.  These are just some of the criteria that are typically used in the admission process:  Grades from your transcript, Test Scores (ACT or SAT), Recommendation Letters, Extracurricular Activities, Course Rigor, etc.  Some schools are “test optional” or “test flexible” schools.  You can find a list here:
  3. Obtain information about the schools on your list.  Go on college visits in the summer.  Look on the website for information, don’t just call and ask questions for information that would be considered typical information you can find.  If you do need to call and ask a question, the student should call.  Explore the website.  There is usually a vast amount of information online to sort through – virtual tours, student interviews, scholarship information, financial aid considerations, deadlines, etc.  Here is information about the Common Application.  You can make an account now and it will roll over to next school year.  This is new!  Common Application Account Roll Over
  4. Planning is everything so you don’t miss deadlines!  Make a spreadsheet or use one of the many you can find online.  Here’s an example:
  5. Create a resume – this will help you in your application process and it is something you can start now rather than waiting.  Here is an example: Example of HS Resume & TipsChattahoochee also expects that you will submit a "Student Profile" to your counselor at least 10 days prior to a deadline for any recommendation letter.  A well thought out profile will help your counselor to write a thorough rec letter on your behalf.  You will find the Student Information Sheet on the counseling webpage under the heading "Student Resources".  Here is a link to the counseling webpage to help you get started.  Senior Information Sheet 16-17
  6. Essay writing is sometimes part of the admissions process.  Start working on a personal statement now while you have more time rather than waiting until your senior year begins.  Yes, some schools will have more specific essays – you can always view the previous year’s application to get some ideas if you are concerned, but a personal statement is an essay that can be adapted to something else later as long as you have taken the time to really reflect.  If you plan on submitting any applications through Common Application, they have released the 2016-2017 Essay prompts.  You can find those here: Common Application 16-17 Essay Prompts.  There are also good guides on how to write personal statements.  Check those tips here: Tips for Writing a Personal Statement.
  7. Use test prep opportunities over the summer.  Here is one affordable option that is available to Chattahoochee High School students: Princeton Review Summer Test Prep Flyer
  8. High Achieving – Low Income students (families below $65,000 for a family of 4) can take a look at QuestBridge opportunities. They provide a National College Match program which can pay for all college expenses if accepted into the program.  Rising seniors need to begin the application over the summer.  Check it out at 2016 National College Match Program through QuestBridge
  9. Athletes who plan to play at the college level (not intramurals or a rec league) need to register with the NCAA clearinghouse (NCAA Eligibility Center Site).  Mrs. Lange in our front office needs permission to upload a transcript so include her.  Talk to your coaches to make sure they are included in your process.
  10. Fine Arts & Performing Arts students – talk with your teachers – they are experts! Did you know there is a National Portfolio Day for fine arts?  Check this out:  National Portfolio Day Site.  Performing Arts students – here are tips for auditioning:  Tips for Auditioning and this is a very cool blog dedicated to performing arts: Performing Arts Blog
By August, you really need to know where you plan to apply.  You should have your list narrowed down.  The exploring and investigating should be limited at this point and you should have a clearer picture of the schools with the best fit for you.  Focus your energy on those during your senior year.  This includes having a Plan B! or Plan C!

Spend your summer doing something you enjoy.  Read, explore, work, help someone! These are activities where you discover yourself best, not by trying to engage in every activity to fill a resume or specifically add to your college admissions file.  Do something because you are genuinely interested in that activity.  Before long, it will be August and you need to get started on applications, requesting recommendations, and writing essays.  The more you prepare for now, the smoother your senior year will be.

Go get ’em!