With summer vacation just moments away, juniors are likely daydreaming about long days on the beach, hanging out with friends and sleeping in. And that is exactly how some of their days should be spent this summer! However, the next few months are also a critical time to work on the college process. Fall of senior year is a very busy time for most, and the further along rising seniors are with their college process, the more time they will have to focus on their studies when they return to school, participate in extracurricular activities, and to put the finishing touches on their college applications. Below is the summer to-do list we share with the juniors we work with: * Complete as much of the Common Application as you can by the time you go back to school. This application is accepted by hundreds of colleges and is available online at www.commonapp.org. Once you are registered, you can work on this application at your own pace, saving your changes as you go. You can also give permission to your guidance counselor to view your application through this Web site. * Write your Personal Statement. Although part of the Common Application, writing gets a separate bullet because this is, by far, the most time consuming part of the application to complete. Usually it takes several drafts to articulate exactly and precisely what you want the colleges to know about you. Be sure to give this writing process the time and thought it deserves. The Personal Statement reveals a lot about you as a writer, a thinker and a person, and is, thus, a very important piece of any college application. * Visit colleges on your list. Before visiting any school, do your research so you know what to expect, what to look for and what questions to ask. Your visit will be much more fruitful if you've taken the time to prepare for it. Be sure to schedule interviews at schools requiring them. * Write your resume. This will help prepare for interviews, help with brainstorming essay topics and can be attached to your Common Application. A resume gives a fuller and more detailed picture of your interests and abilities than the activities grid on the Common Application is able to. * Check to see if your colleges will require supplements. Start to gather these so that you can get a sense of the work that lies ahead. Some supplements will only take a few moments to complete, while others are quite lengthy. * Look over applications for those colleges not on the Common Application. Think strategically about the essays for these in order to avoid writing more essays than necessary. Although summer is certainly a time for rest and renewal, the time you invest in crossing items off your summer to-do list will pay off greatly in the fall.
Reprinted with permission from MetroWest Daily News