5 College Planning Tips for the Summer between Junior & Senior Years

  1. Finalize Your List

College-Admission-PlanningWhether you’ve known since the second grade that you’re going to apply to Bucknell, or still can’t tell the difference between one business program and another, the time has come to finalize the list of schools you’re going to apply to in the fall. The deadlines for applications creep up on you faster than you think, and scrambling at the last minute to find out details about a particular school’s admissions process or scholarships is something nobody should have to do. So solidify the list you’ve started to a range of reach, target and safety schools, and stick to it.

   2.  Finish Your Visits

A visit to a school’s campus can either make or break the decision to apply. What a school looks like in its brochures tells you nothing about the feel of the campus, the attitude of the students who attend, and don’t offer real, human beings to interact with and to ask the tough questions. Once you’ve finished your final list of schools, use the time off to make a second trip to your favorite schools.

   3.  Research the Essay Questions

The admissions essay is the part of the application where you can show off a bit of yourself, give the admissions counselors a glimpse of your personality aside from the resume, and have the opportunity to express why not only you would be a good fit for the college you’re applying to, but why it would be a good fit for you. Even though school’s out, waiting until the day before the deadline to crank out an admissions essay is not the way to go to ensure the best work possible. So, even though you don’t have to start putting pen to paper just yet, now is the time to start researching possible essay questions. Some universities have prompts specific to them that you must answer, so do your homework and start getting the gears turning early in order to avoid last-minute writer’s block.

   4.  Determine Letter of Recommendation Writer's

As the prospective student, you’re not the only one having to write in to colleges on your behalf! Letters of recommendation are a way to let the admissions counselors verify what they see on your resume and in your application, and offer a different perspective on you as a student, and usually a minimum of two letters of recommendation are required at most schools. Teachers you’ve had most recently in the subject of your potential major (i.e., your Honors Calculus teacher if you’re applying to an engineering program) should be considered as primary sources, but coaches, pastors, and other adults you have close working relationships with may also be possible letter writers as character references. Devise a list of around 4 people you’ll be prepared to ask in the fall.

   5.  Gather Deadlines & Develop a Plan of Attack

With all this talk about things to get ready for in the fall, the trick is knowing when, exactly, in the fall they actually have to happen. It can seem like every school you’re applying to has a different deadline, which can sometimes be the case. Stay on top of dates and stay organized, and start to form a plan of when things need to be accomplished so they can be submitted on time. While it sounds a bit like overkill, making a chart, list, or spreadsheet now can help cut down on stress later.


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Topics: college planning tips, college deadlines, college essay