The summer is upon us, which really means that it’s basically September in our minds. The summer is not a time for play, it’s a time for work. It’s a preview to the rest of your life, if you’re a student. Not to get too dark, but it’s true. Parents, while summer might be a time that you associate with vacations and relaxation, if you have a kid who is applying to colleges next year we’re going to strongly encourage you to wait to schedule vacations for winter break.
The summer is a distracting time in and of itself, and no one ever got any work done on vacation. Trust us. The best thing that you could do for your kid this summer is to help them stay on track with their work, reading, and writing. Encourage them to figure out an organizational system that works for them.
We’ve drawn up some checklists for you and for your child so that you can both be on track come September 1. These are all of the items that you should have done by the time September 1 (AKA: the beginning of senior year) rolls around. We implore you to customize this list and add things specific to you and your child’s application process. Check in each week with both your list and your parent or child’s list. Let us know if you have any questions at all, or need help creating your own list for your family. That’s why we’re here.
Deadline: September 1
- Take a practice test each week!
- Read at least 5 books. List them here and cross them off your list once you’ve read it:
- Complete registration for any last-minute testing
- For the July ACT, the registration deadline is June 15
- For the September ACT, the registration deadline is
- For the August SAT, the registration deadline is
Write down these deadlines for submitting your test scores to schools in every possible place that you can so that you don’t forget
- ED/EA schools: submit test scores by October 1
- RD schools: submit test scores by December 1
- Introduce yourself to your college counselor. Hint: they’re going to be writing you a recommendation and are responsible for submitting all of your paperwork on time. It’s best for them to know you well and to see your face often. Stand out by bringing them coffee or tea once a week. Get to know them. It will only help you.
- Create and complete your college list
- Complete sections 1-4 of your Common Application (that means creating an account)
- Make sure you have realistic reaches, targets, and safeties. Let us know if you have questions about where a school should fall on your list.
- Complete all early decision and early action essays and supplements
- Tip: Create a Google Doc for each school that you can write your essays in so that you’re not tied to Microsoft Word if it crashes or your computer fizzles out.
Make sure you have realistic reaches, targets, and safeties. Let us know if you have questions about where a school should fall on your list.
Create a plan of action for your fall semester extracurricular activities. Time is going to get away from you with applications when you should be running for leadership positions and continuing to take on more responsibility. Make sure you have a plan.
Make sure you’re enrolled in the most challenging courses possible. If you’re not, change your schedule ASAP.
If you haven’t, contact your teachers for recommendation letters. Send them an email over the summer. This should have been done last semester, but here we are. Get on it.
Create a spreadsheet with all of your deadlines for application season in a format that makes sense to you and that you will follow.
Talk with your parents about when and if you’re going to have time to visit any schools in the fall once students are on campus (we don’t advise visiting over the summer). Schedule out those visits and register ahead of time because the tours and information sessions fill up.
Deadline: September 1
- Make sure your child is registered for any and all standardized tests that are coming up over the summer and that they don’t miss registration deadlines.
- Help your student complete and finalize their college list.
- Compare your child’s test scores to the median test score range for the schools on their list. That is the best way to tell if a school is a safety, target, or reach.
- Get with your calendar and plan out fall college visits.
- Register early. These tours fill up with families who are scrambling to get this done at the last minute.
- Don’t do them over the summer when classes aren’t in session. It’s only ¼ of the picture without students on campus.
- Plot out your child’s early application strategy early.
- Are you sending a pattern? It’s that you should get things done early.
- Yes, your child should apply early decision and early action. Here’s why.
Mark down important deadlines on multiple surfaces and mediums throughout your home and life
Let us know if you need help with any or all of the above. It’s what we do best and it’s why we are here. We want to help you execute this process so that it’s not stressful. It can even be fun. At least we think so.