Summer's over and there's plenty of work to be done on the college hunt. Here's a clip-and-save list of what you should be doing this fall:
Juniors & Seniors
Attend college presentations at your school – very important since the representative who comes to your school will most likely be the admission officer who will review applications from your area.
If a representative from a college that interests you is not visiting your school, contact that college’s Admission Office and find out if and when a representative will be in your area – possibly for a college fair. Then contact the representative and see if you can set up a brief meeting.
Finish researching colleges and prepare a final college list with reach, target and safety schools.
Identify the number of essays and the specific essay prompts for each college. See if there are overlaps that allow you to use the same essay for multiple colleges.
Ask teachers in advance if they will write letters of recommendation. Prepare materials for recommenders that include Brag Sheet/Resume or other needed documents.
Make arrangements with your guidance office to send your high school transcripts and any needed guidance counselor recommendations.
Visit colleges you didn't have a chance to see over the summer or consider revisiting colleges of particular interest. Meet with college reps who visit your school or your area.
Prep for the ACT, SAT and SAT Subject Tests as needed. Register before dead-lines and have official test scores sent by the testing agency to colleges if required.
Discuss realistic financial commitments with parents. Explore financial aid and scholarships. Study, study, study – first semester grades count.
Visit colleges when traveling, take cam-pus tours and sit in on college info sessions.
Attend college seminars, financial aid workshops, etc. to get up to speed on the process.
Take PSAT practice tests to boost performance on the October PSAT that serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Meet with your guidance counselor to re-view senior courses.
Create an academic portfolio – save essays and projects that you might reference in your applications.
Seek out leadership opportunities in your activities.
And of course, study, study, study.
Remember that colleges don't see any senior year grades when students apply for either Early Action or Early Decision– so junior year grades carry a lot of weight.