Today’s post is by guest blogger Kat Cohen, Phd., Founder of ApplyWise, an online college counseling program for high school students. For expert info on the college admissions process, connect with Applywise on Facebook or @Applywise.
1). Register for standardized tests NOW
Most students wait until the summer after their Junior year to study and cram for the SAT/ACT. As a result, once you get your scores in October you only have one or two more opportunities to re-take the exams to improve scores. Give yourself more time to improve by taking the tests early in the spring semester. This past weekend was the second SAT testing session of the year, so there’s only two more left before the semester; the registration deadline for the May test session is April 6th, and the registration for the June testing session is May 8th.
2). Plan to take SAT subject tests in May or June
Many schools require SAT subject tests for admission and some colleges require you to submit scores from two SAT Subject tests. You should plan to take an SAT Subject Test in a course that you are currently doing well in. This way, the material is fresh and you’ll perform better on the exam. Avoid the stress of taking subject tests in the fall of your senior year.
3). Visit a college during your winter or spring break
Visiting a college campus will help you and your parents get a sense of your preferences and needs. Some students may plan a trip to visit Ivy League schools in the Northeast, while others may drive to a local campus. You do not need to wait for an open house to visit a campus. Visiting and talking to students while college is in session will help you get a true sense of what college life is like.
4). Identify teachers who can write your college recommendations
Asking a teacher for a recommendation two weeks before the application is due is not a good idea. Once you’ve identified teachers that you are interested in asking for a recommendation, start cultivating a strong relationship. Spend time talking with them about the work you are doing in and out of class. You can even talk to them about your college search. You might be surprised at how happy they are to hear about your future plans.
5). Set up an appointment with your guidance counselor
Your school will probably have a college day or financial aid night that you and your family should attend. You should also make an effort to speak to your guidance counselor sooner rather than later. The more your guidance counselor knows about your needs and wants, the better the advice he or she can give you in the next few months.
Have a tip to share with a college bound high schooler? Spread the knowledge and leave it in a comment below!