SENIOR “To Do” LIST:
- This is when students truly find out what the term “college prep” has all been about! Seniors should not construe this a “cruise year.” Colleges and universities want students to continue to take the most challenging classes available to them and to perform to the top of their ability.
- Still focus on academics! Contrary to the urban myth – grades DO count in the senior year!
- Most competitive universities expect seniors to carry at least FIVE College Preparatory, AP or Honors courses each semester, and they also expect seniors to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA throughout the year.
- To be considered for Highly Selective Universities an applicant must have taken the maximum years of English, Math, Science, and Foreign Language at the AP or Honors level for most of them!
- Seniors should be taking their SAT, SAT Subject tests, or ACT test for the last time during the fall of their senior year. The December SAT or ACT testing date is the absolute last date to take either of these tests for most fall college admission cycles.
The deadlines for some college applications begin early in the fall semester of the senior year, but vary widely from school to school. Seniors must be aware of DEADLINES! If they are applying Early Decision or Early Action, everything has to be done EARLY! Some colleges want the application in by a certain date and some accept applications on a “Rolling” basis. It is absolutely critical to pay attention to deadline criteria!
COLLEGE APPLICATION DOS AND DON’TS
Electronic Do’s & Don’ts
Email is still the standard for communication in the professional world – so you need to get used to checking it regularly!
- Don’t… use an overly cute or suggestive e-mail name. You want them to think of you as being intelligent and mature!
- Do… take the online tour. Before you start your application, walk through each step of the application on the virtual tour most online application sites now provide. When available, it’s also a good idea to download a PDF version of the application to use as a worksheet before inputting your application online.
- Do… create a user name and password that you’ll remember easily. Record it and keep it in a safe place.
- Do… disclose your (SSN) Social Security Number in college applications and to the College Board! Your SSN is one of the critical items colleges use to match your applications to your SAT and/or ACT scores. Your college applications, the College Board & the ACT are all secure websites. So, as long as your computer has a functioning anti-virus program, and you are using a secure computer connection (i.e. not using the Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks. There is a great deal of warranted paranoia about identity theft online these days. However, your college applications and the College Board are some of the few places where you should
- Do… disable pop-up blockers on your browser in order to view the online instructions that will be displayed in pop-up windows.
- Do… use the correct browser. Most online applications functions only with Internet Explorer 7.0 or higher when using a Windows operating system. Or for Apple users: Mozilla/Firefox, Chrome or Safari. College online applications are highly secure; so older browsers are not usually equipped to handle the necessary level of encryption.
- Do… check your e-mail service’s spam or junk mail settings. Make sure that you have set your e-mail service so that it will not block e-mail from the colleges you are applying to!
- Do… be very cautious about what you have posted online (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc…. Colleges and employers now routinely review these as part of their background checks!
- Do… follow directions and complete all steps. On each page and in every pop-up, scroll to the bottom to avoid missing any information.
- Don’t… forget to save your work. You usually have no more than 40 minutes per Web page before you’ll be timed out. Whenever you save an entry or move to a new page, your work is automatically stored, but if you plan to leave your application for any length of time — to go grab a snack or answer the phone — use the save/logout feature to store your application, then log back in.
- Don’t… compose your personal statement online. Take time to compose it in a word-processing application, such as Microsoft Word, save it as a text file, and then copy and paste it into the appropriate boxes in the online application.
- Do… print out copies of your personal statement to cross-check your work with your parents, counselor or an instructor.
- Do… carefully review the summary page. Look for any instance where it says, “no information added,” and if you didn’t intend to leave that area blank, click “modify” to return to the step where you can fill it in.
- Don’t… be afraid to ask for help. If you have technical difficulties, don’t be afraid to ask the, “Help Desk,” “Technical Support,” or “Contact” links.
- Do… click “Submit Application” when you’ve finished. Your application won’t be sent to the University until you do.
- Do… print out your receipt and keep it so you will have a record of your application id number and a complete summary of your application.
- Last but not least. . . Do bookmark the application status portals for all the colleges you are applying to in your internet browser and check them weekly for updates!