The hype this time of year seems to center around high school seniors – and why wouldn’t it? Some seniors have already submitted their applications – and some have even heard back from colleges. Others wait… and wait… and wait… until mid-December, for early decision and early action responses, and others wait even longer, and won’t hear from colleges until April.
But the college admissions process isn’t just for seniors. In fact, it doesn’t start in September of your senior year, or the summer prior. Nowadays, it starts freshman and sophomore year. You might be thinking, I’m too young, what can I do? Actually, a lot:
• Do well in school. It can’t be emphasized enough; start high school on the right foot, and chart yourself on a continuous path of challenge and success.
• Join a club or two, and see what you like. Not happy? Find another activity or ask a teacher to serve as a club adviser and start a new one. It’s good to be active, and to have participated in a wide variety of activities, to show leadership.
• Plan your class schedule for future years. Even as a freshman, you should be thinking about what you want to take as a senior. Sound crazy? It’s not. If you want to study science or engineering in college, you’ll need to take calculus in high school, and to take calculus, you’ll likely need to take analytic geometry or trigonometry, geometry, and a year or two of algebra. If you’re not on track for this schedule, you might want to take a community college course during a summer.
• Talk to your school counselor. You might have a mandatory meeting with him or her – if so, make the most of it. Talk about your aspirations for college, and that you want to design a course schedule that will position you to be admitted to colleges. If you don’t have a mandatory meeting, set one up. It’s your right to have such a meeting and advocate for yourself.
• Keep track of your grades and your achievements – start a résumé. Create a file or folder for all your high school records, whether electronic or in a filing cabinet.
Attention freshmen and sophomores (and parents), the college admissions process begins now. The more organized you are, the better you plan with your college counselor (and with AcceptU), the better positioned for success you’ll be when senior year comes around.