Ah, summer vacation. Time for beach days, road trips, and time with friends. School’s out and thinking about classes, grades, and applying to college can wait until the fall. Well, maybe not. For rising seniors, summer is a perfect time to get a head start on your college visits and applications. With a little planning ahead you tackle some of the important college tasks to make balancing college applications with schoolwork more manageable in the fall.
In talking with our colleagues in college admission offices around the country, a recurring theme in this year’s applications was that colleges paid very close attention to how much time and care a student took with their application. Thoughtful answers and attention to detail really makes an impact in the admissions process. Colleges want to admit students that are truly interested and want to attend. You’ve probably heard about demonstrated interest before - the idea that the interest a student shows in a college (or lack thereof) can impact the admission decision. Submitting strong, error-free, and comprehensive applications are among the most significant ways of demonstrating interest.
So, how do you balance summer fun with staying on track with the college process? Here are a few tips:
- Check online to see when applications become available or when essay questions are released. In just the past few weeks, Boston College, Georgetown, and Elon have released their applications or their questions. Releasing this information early is a clear sign from colleges that they are giving you ample time to work on your applications - use it!
- The Common Application preview is available online now. The application will be live in August, but it’s a good idea to check it out and familiarize yourself with the questions now.
- Road trip! Get out and visit schools while you have some time. Try to add some relaxing and fun activities to your trip so it feels like a vacation, too. Campus visits are a great way of demonstrating interest and helping you narrow down the schools and types of schools that are a good match for you. It may be hard once school begins in the fall to visit schools that are a plane ride away, so take advantage while you can.
- Work on your essays! I can’t stress enough how much you will benefit from putting in the time and effort on your applications in the summer. The school year will bring with it schoolwork, activities, and other outside distractions. Students often compare completing college applications to having another academic class, and it can be. Getting a head start now will prevent procrastination, unnecessary nagging from your parents, and most importantly, can help prevent careless mistakes that can negatively impact your application.
To learn more about the importance of demonstrated interest directly from college admissions counselors, check out our webinar at http://www.campusbound.com/firststep.