Juniors, here is your college admission checklist for June:
Resist the Lull
With summer break just around the corner, June can be a tough month for juniors. Warmer weather, classes coming to an end and the sweet promise of sleeping past 7 a.m. can combine to lull you into an early case of senioritis.
Do not succumb! During the final days of classes, you are putting the finishing touches on a high school transcript that will make its way into the hands of college admission officers in the fall.
Finalize Your Senior Schedule
Colleges look to admit students who are entering their academic prime. As such, your senior year schedule should include core subjects:
Math English Science Social Studies
If you have three years of a foreign language you don't need to take another unless you want to.
Three AP's are more than enough senior year. See more about the good and the bad of AP at the bottom of the checklist.
Ask for Teacher Recommendations
Recommendation letters from one or two teachers of core academic subjects allow admission officers to go beyond your grades and standardized test scores and learn more about you, your learning style and your academic abilities.
As your junior year concludes, think about 11th- and 12th-grade teachers who can describe your academic abilities and performance. Who knows you best? Ask these teachers if they are willing to write a letter in your support. If they hesitate, consider asking someone else.
Begin Your Summer Plans
Colleges want to know how you spend your summers. While sitting by the pool, watching reruns of “Gossip Girl” or playing Madden 2013 provide a bit of well-deserved downtime, this is not what you want to list on the extracurricular section of your college applications.
Whether your plans include a summer job, an internship, camp, travel, classes, community service or all of the above, it is time to swing into action.
Evaluate Your Testing Plan
As you pause between junior and senior years, summer is a good time to evaluate your standardized testing plan.
Do you prefer the ACT or the SAT? Are your scores higher on one of the tests? Do any of the colleges you are considering require subject tests? Remember: More than 800 colleges and universities do not require standardized testing as part of the admission process. Visit www.fairtest.org for a list of these institutions.
Start Writing Your College Essay
Your high school transcript is the initial criterion used to evaluate your application, but the college essay is a chance to introduce yourself to the admission committee. This is your opportunity to tell them who you are, what you value and what they would not know about you from the rest of your application.
While it is not necessary to complete a final draft in June, it is a good idea to start writing your essay in the summer, when you don’t have school essays and projects hanging over your head.
Fulfill Specific Requirements for Athletes and Artists
Are you thinking about pursuing the arts or playing a sport in college? If so, your application process may include a few additional components.
If you are an athlete, use this time to create an athletic résumé and collect highlight film footage. Artists should find out what their prospective colleges require and use this time to prepare an art portfolio or, if applicable, select a piece to perform for auditions.
Visit College Campuses
Summer is a great time to visit college campuses. The green quads may not be overflowing with students and the campus centers may look a bit empty, but most admission offices employ a number of summer tour guides who are eager to show you around and tell you all of the reasons they selected their college. Their availability allows you and your parents to hit the road and truly discover what you are looking for in your college experience, all without missing important high school days.
While information sessions and tours are a must, be sure to spend some unscripted time exploring, which can be just as helpful in learning more about college communities. To avoid campus confusion and prepare for the “why would you like to attend our college” questions, take notes and keep a journal.
Read, Relax and Recharge
The fall will be very busy, and you want to make sure you return to school ready for all that senior year will require of you. Summer is a great time to move forward with the college admission process, but it is also an important time to recharge and spend time with family and friends.
Make time for yourself and the activities you enjoy. Senior year will be here in no time, so enjoy your time off, finish your summer reading and be ready to start strong in the fall!