Planning for College: What to do Now Spring is Here?

Planning for College - Spring

The road to submitting your college applications is a long one. The students with the best outcomes are those that have been working towards their applications throughout high school so in this article I’m going to look at what students from different grades should be doing during the next few months.

Grade 9 and 10/ Freshman and Sophomore.

Take stock of where you are and plan for what comes next

  • Review how you are getting on in each of your subjects at school, are you up to date with the work, do you have a good understanding of the concepts, are you getting the grades you want?

  • If you are finding it difficult to manage all the things you need to do use a planner to help you use your time more effectively. At Ivy Central, we like using the free downloadable templates from Passion Planner.

  • Keep playing an active part in lessons, remember you don’t want to be the one sitting at the back, not contributing until you are asked.

  • If you need help, ask!

  • Many of you will have end of year exams coming up so set up a revision plan, and stick to it. Remember these grades will be included as part of your college application, so you want to do the best you can.

  • If you are in Grade 10 you will probably be thinking about what subjects to do in Grades 11 and 12. Take the time to do your research into the options you are interested in; does the course work interest you, will it be helpful for what you want to study at college or university, are there any specific subject requirements for any career you might be interested in?

  • If you don’t already have a plan for the summer look at what summer programs are still taking applications and apply to those that interest you.

  • Continue with extra-curricular activities you are involved with; are there new things you would like to try out?  

Grade 11/Junior Year.

The spring for Grade 11 is where you start to come to the sharp end of the application process.

  • Keep doing all the good things that you are already doing, working hard at school, completing extra-curricular activities and starting new ones, keeping yourself organized and on schedule.

  • Build a revision timetable in preparation for any end of year or AP exams that you may be doing.

  • Start building your long college list. Identify colleges that have a good academic, social and geographic fit, making sure you have a mix of reach, target and safety colleges. Having done that start researching those colleges in more detail. If you have not already done so, ask your school counselor about any limitations on the number of colleges they will let you apply for.

  • As part of your research make sure you go on a virtual tour of any colleges you are interested in attending. In addition, sign up for any online information sessions being run and their perspective student newsletters, not only will you get to know the college better, but the college will understand that you are seriously interested in them.

  • The College Board has confirmed that there are no changes to the Common App essay prompts for this year. Now is the time to start working to identify what you might want to write about and make a start on your first draft. 

  • Think about which teachers you will ask to write letters of recommendation in support of your application. These want to be teachers of subjects linked to your intended area of study and that know you well. 

Grade 12/Senior Year

By this point, you will hopefully have some offers from colleges and perhaps waiting for a few more decisions to be made. Time to sit back and relax? Not quite.

  • Make sure you avoid Senioritis! Now that your application is in, it can be easy to sit back and relax after the rigors of the last year, however it is important that you continue to perform well in your studies. All colleges reserve the right to withdraw any offer if your grades drop at the last hurdle!

  • Go back and review what attracted you to each of the colleges that have accepted you, think about what you don’t like about them as well and draw up a pros and cons list.

  • If you are in the unfortunate position of not receiving any offers, plan for what your next step will be. There are a number of options open to you; apply to new colleges accepting rolling admissions some of whom will continue to accept applications through to August and beyond. If these colleges don’t offer the education you are looking for, other options would include taking a Gap Year and applying for a start in 2022 or making the decision to enter the employment field.

A few words on SAT/ACT

In previous years we would include multiple comments about preparing for standardised tests such as the SAT or ACT, however, with most colleges remaining test optional for this application cycle there is a decision to be made as to whether to do a standardised test or use the time to work on your school work and extra-curricular projects and research. While the answer will vary according to individual circumstances in general, if you can do well in the test without it diverting you from other work, or, if your school grades don’t reflect your true abilities then it could be worthwhile applying for one or other of the tests.

Working with study abroad consultants, overseas education consultants, or, as more commonly known, college counselors, can help you plan ahead and make those high school years count. Ivy Central offers exceptional focus to help you prepare for college admissions throughout the high-schooling years. Start today!

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