I can't believe it's mid-August and there's so much I still want to do before summer is over. I've been cooped up in my office working around the clock and have only been to the beach once this year. For a native Jersey girl, that's like turning your back on your roots.
Yet, there is time. Time for me to get to the beach again. And time for those seniors to get those remaining agenda items checked off their list before school starts.
Here is your essential late summer checklist:
1. Add a Rolling Admissions college to your list.
These schools typically don't require a lot. Sometimes all you need is to fill out an application, report your grades and test scores, and voila! Within a few weeks, you could have your first college acceptance in hand.
2. Register for any last remaining standardized tests.
If you can find an ACT or SAT in September or October, it usually gives you enough time to submit those scores for Early Decision and Early Action deadlines, which are mostly around November 1st.
3. Send an email to your college counselor and any teachers who will be writing letters of recommendation for you.
Share what you did this summer. Give them an update if your major choice or college list has changed. Most of all, thank them personally for taking the time to write a letter for you. They don't get paid extra to do it.
4. Begin filling out the Common Application (or whichever major application you will be using).
The "Activities" section takes the longest to do, but it is also one of the most reflective sections of any application.
5. Request a transcript from your college counselor or registrar to double-check that there are no mistakes on it!
You don't want the transcript being sent to colleges or relying on it to self-report classes and grades (some colleges require this!) with a wrong grade, GPA, or class rank on it.
6. Finalize your main college essay.
You will have more essays to write so it is important to get this one out of the way.
7. Confirm your senior year classes with your college counselor in order to list them accurately on your applications.
If a student's senior year classes change after submitting an application, the student is required to notify all of the colleges on their list (even the ones they have already been admitted to).
8. Review which colleges on your list require supplemental essays.
If your main college essay is done, get started on these. Supplemental essays can be very difficult to write, and they matter just as much as the main college essay, especially if you are applying to more selective colleges.
9. Sign up for an in-person tour (and information session), virtual tour (and virtual information session), and/or interview (if available).
Many colleges track "demonstrated interest" and will consider how much interest you have shown them before and sometimes even after you apply.
Free Download: The College Visit Worksheet
10. Put the final touches on your college list by ensuring that you have an equal number of reach, target, and likely colleges, and some "early" choices like Early Decision, multiple Early Action applications, and a Rolling Admissions school.
Trust me. You won't want to wait until springtime for your first college acceptance!
This week, my husband surprised all of us and planned a trip to the Jersey Shore for one last hoorah. He knew we all needed that before the summer ends. I get to breathe in that ocean air, eat the best seafood and produce on the planet (yes, that's right!), and return to my roots. That's on my end-of-summer checklist. What's on yours?