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Patch Blog: College Advising—Things You Should Do Right Now!

Increase your "accept-ability" by starting now with a few essential tasks!

With the school year starting, seniors are filled with energy and anxiety.  They want to get their applications Started-Completed-Sent and they are afraid they won’t get in—anywhere!  Let’s take care of both these problems right now, right away.

By starting now, students can get ahead in the college process, take charge of their own college lists and applications and get on with their senior year.  Here is a short list of essential items to take care of.  Do these and you can rest easy—(But stay in touch.  I’ll send you more To Do’s, later on!)

Make a college list. Include 3 reach schools, 5 target schools, and 3 safety schools. Select from all over the country.  Include at least one school that you can afford “no matter what.”  Good tools for doing your search are a) a map of the country (I use a plastic placemat!) and b) Collegeboard.com.  Use the map to increase your sense of adventure and success.  You’d be surprised at how much your “accept-ability” increases once you leave California!  You have a diversity factor that states in the Midwest and South crave.  Go for it.  Use Collegeboard to search through all your priorities.  It’s fast and reliable.

Fill out the Common Application.  You can upload all the schools that take the Common App and read through the questions in each school’s Supplemental Application.  Note: the UC application goes online October 1st. By applying Early Action or Early Decision (if you’re sure you want to attend that school) you will be increasing your chances of admission by as much as 50%.  Mark your calendars now for November 1st!

Sign up for Tests: The ACT and SAT are essential tests for admission to all competitive schools.  Even if you haven’t signed up for the September ACT, you might still be able to walk in and take it.  Show up 45 minutes early for the paperwork.  For Early Action and Early Decision applicants, you can take the September, October, or November SAT or ACT tests and still have all your application materials in on time.  Remember to get a practice book and study (25 minutes a day!) and get your SAT Question A Day from Collegeboard.com.

Recommendations: As soon as you can, ask two teachers for recommendations.  When you ask for recs, ask if he/she can write you a “good” recommendation (important!) and then set up an appointment to go over your achievements.  Often teachers have good intentions, but busy lives and short memories.  By spending time with a teacher, you can pass along a list of your grades, classroom discussions, and moments that you remember from their class.  This will be a big help to your teacher and will help him/her write a much stronger recommendation.

Write, Write, Write: Your college admission essay(s) are like your interview.  The words you write reflect your personality in a way that all the numbers of a transcript and tests scores can’t.  Read a few samples from Fiske: Real College Essays that Work.  Download the Common App topics.  Write a few sentences on each.  Then tell a good story and show your passion.  Most importantly, edit, edit, edit… spend time polishing your genius work. Share it with your English teacher, a beloved aunt, or an adult friend. Make sure that what you write communicates clearly.

Whether you apply Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Admission, this is an exciting time for you.  Feel free to send us your questions any time whether here or on our website.  We’re here to help you (and we answer questions for free.)

--All the best from PerfectFitCollege.Net

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

lisa August 31, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Great tips...I've been forwarding your articles to my son who is now a senior in high school.
Patti Brugman August 31, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Dear Lisa: Good luck to your son in this very exciting year! If you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to send an email or call. Contact info is on the website-- glad to be of help. Patti

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