Your counselor recommended started to prep and organize for your college apps this summer. As you wake up at 10:30 a.m. on a lovely summer morning, your mom asks, What have you done with your college applications? Okay. You get it. But really…how do you actually prep during the summer? Check out these easy tips below and walk away feeling confident and ready to go!
Schedule a time in your week for “college”
- This could be once or twice a week. For example, every Sunday at 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. I will devote to college time. Actually put it in your calendar on your iPhone or on a written calendar.
- What this does is take the worry in the back of your mind of “I know I’m supposed to be thinking of college and doing something, but I can’t today or I’m not that into it right now.”
- Use this time for any of the following
- Researching colleges to build your college list Tip: Use How to Begin Your College Search or resources-for-well-balanced-college-list
- Brainstorming and writing essay topics Tip: Use The College Essay Guy, Ethan Sawyer’s tips on brainstorming for different essays here: http://www.collegeessayguy.com
- Think about application due dates such as applying Early Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision Read this article from Vanderbilt admissions to learn more: EA, ED and RD What’s Really the Difference
Set attainable, realistic goals for yourself Goal setting and WRITING down your goals is incredibly helpful in managing and organizing applications…and life in general! Here’s how to do it:
- Set weekly or monthly goals, see these examples:
- By Friday I will have a rough draft of my Common App essay
- By Sunday I will have a list of essay topic ideas
- By August 1st I will have my list of colleges I’m applying to mostly set* *Understand you might add or remove a few when you come back to school if you attend a presentation or discover one later – Be open to exploring new colleges!
- Use reminders on your iPhone to stay on track
- Write goals down and post them somewhere, in a calendar, on your wall, on your phone
Practice self-care College applications can get hectic, especially when you add going back to class, activities, homework and more on top of your plate. Start adding self-care into your routine to help you manage and stay balanced.
- Write down what helps you zone out (running, drawing, playing guitar, writing, listening to music, etc.) and schedule breaks to do these activities
- Use app resources like Headspace or StopBreatheThink
Have college free talk times Ask your family to have times where the conversation of college is not allowed to pop up. This can be during dinner, or in the car. Make it a game, if anyone brings up college that person has to buy dessert or a treat!
Fill in an activities and awards sheet
- Find one within the UC tips and tools here: 2017-2018 UC Freshman Tips and Tools
- Create a Common Application account and fill out the Activities section
- Create a blank document and add everything from clubs, awards, extracurriculars, jobs, etc.
Tip: Activities and extracurricular are anything you have a committed responsibility to and impact with this could be a job, taking care of a family member, etc.
Review financial aid Don’t be surprised of your award letter after applying! Figure out which colleges will give you aid and what opportunities are there. Check out the following blog posts for resources: 3 Tools to Easily Tell College Affordability and Tuition Price and Financial Aid…Intimidating? No. Get a handle on it!
Take a moment to BREATHE and get a handle on your applications. You CAN and WILL accomplish this task!