Class of 2021, it’s the last day of school, and what a year!! Summer offers us the chance to unwind and rejuvenate. Especially after this year, I hope you can find a way to relax.
For those of you planning to apply to college, summer also offers the opportunity to engage in the college application process at a manageable pace (absent classes, Zoom meetings, and other commitments). To assist, I have put together a checklist with tasks and some suggested resources that you should find very helpful.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has created many changes to the college admissions landscape. I have addressed these within each of the tasks below. This information is current as of June 18, 2020.
Sign up to get on all your colleges’ email lists/request information. This will give you firsthand information about any changes to admissions policies and college/university updates. This includes changes to testing policies and application deadlines, for example.
College Research & Resume Development: Naviance* is a good place to accomplish both of these. Use the many college search options to generate a list of potential colleges. Virtual information is robust at all colleges so take advantage of all that you can see and experience even from the comforts of your home. While not required by all colleges, a resume is a good way to more fully present yourself to a college. Use the resume feature in Naviance to organize your information. I am not a fan of the actual format/template on Naviance so feel free to take the information you’ve gathered there and find a format that fits your style.
*You should have a Naviance account. If you do not or cannot recall your login, please contact, Ms. Sabet email@example.com
College Visits: As you know, physical visiting at colleges came to a halt in March 2020. Colleges have done a phenomenal job providing virtual experiences from tours of the physical campus to student panels as well as samples of faculty teaching. There is some discussion to bring back smaller, physical visits this summer but that will be a college-specific decision. It is possible to visit some colleges by walking or driving the campus without entering buildings. Contact your colleges ahead of time to ensure that this is possible. You will get exposure to the atmosphere and distance from home. Whether you are visiting”virtually” or doing a self-guided tour, take notes, indicating what really connects for you. Write down the specifics, this will come in handy if you apply and have to write an essay on “why you think this college fits you”. If formal touring resumes, register online through the college’s admissions page/webpage or call to schedule an information session and tour. In addition to the virtual admissions tours, check out: ecampustours.com and campusreel.org.
College Testing: Many of you have been unable to take your first SAT or ACT due to the cancellation of these tests during the spring. Summer dates in July (ACT) and August (SAT) are available but the number of sites offering the tests has also been significantly reduced. Collegeboard.com (SAT) has added a September test to address these issues. Newton South will not be a test site in August or September so register early to get a location closest to home. Summer is a good time to prep. You can take advantage of the free, individualized Khan Academy SAT study resource through the College Board if you took the PSAT.
NOTE: If you have taken the SAT and want to have the option to have colleges superscore your tests, be sure to take the same test format as you did previously. For example, if you took the SAT in December without an essay, register for a fall SAT without the essay. If you have not taken the SAT, I advise you to take the essay in the event that you add a school that wants it.
Test-Optional Colleges– there are more every day!
Common Application: You have heard of it and you can get a jump start on completing some of the basic sections this summer such as your name, address, high school information, etc… You won’t need to have a final college list yet but most likely you will have colleges that use this platform so why not do this over the summer? On August 1st, you can add the colleges you know you are applying to and see if any additional essays are required and their prompts. Commonapp.org.
College Costs: With any big decision, it is important to have good information. Selecting a college is no different. Colleges are mandated to provide a means for students/families to calculate estimated costs through a Net Price Calculator feature available on all college websites. This exercise is worth devoting the 30 minutes it may take to complete the questions. Additionally, I like the resources available through the website, The College Solution.
College Essay: Summer gives you a chance to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go. So it is a good time to use these moments of reflection to brainstorm topics for your college essay also called a personal statement. A resource I use quite frequently is The College Essay Guy. Some of you may have participated in his Essay Boot Camp in early June. Specifically, look at the tab “Free Resources” where you will find tutorials on topic development and writing style. I highly recommend this.
Common Application has added a 250 word max optional Covid-19 essay if you feel that the impact of the global pandemic has had a significant impact on you.
Recently, some colleges have indicated that they will release their supplemental or additional college-specific essay question prior to August 1st. You may want to review your college’s admissions pages after July 1 to see if they have released the prompts.
Be sure to check the CCC web page regularly throughout the summer for updates related to the college application process. There is a wealth of resources available to you there.
College Planning Guide -if you have some time this summer and want to browse college application topics, this will be your most comprehensive resource.
Post-High School Planning
Not sure about your plans after high school? No worries! You have plenty of time to create one. Just schedule a meeting with your counselor and/or me in the College/Career Center when you return to school.
Wishing you a restful, safe summer