College Preparation Goals for December: Broken down by grade level

I hope you had a restful holiday weekend! Or, maybe you had a weekend like one of my students who ordered pizza and chocolate cake for Thanksgiving while tying up his UC applications. Regardless if you were re-charging or just plain charging, tis the season to have more dates added to your calendar and last minute to-do’s than necessary. So be mindful of your larger goals, break them into smaller pieces and give yourself some breaks.

That same student also said he gives himself at least one day each month to do nothing at home, but sleep and rest. Balance right? I’ve never liked the word balance, because, well that’s insane in this life, however I do love the word prioritize. My student prioritized his days off so he knew when he was cramming for an exam or finishing apps, he was well rested. Here’s a few example goals for students in each grade level to get you thinking…and if all else fails, order some pizza and a slice of chocolate cake.

Seniors

  • Set up portal accounts for all applications you submitted
    • Note: these portal accounts are painfully slow, if you sent in your test scores and they don’t say it yet…DO NOT panic
    • Keep track of your username/passwords and websites in one space
  • Check off all supplementary materials that need to be sent in (transcripts, test scores, letters of rec)
  • Finish applying to any regular decision applications
  • Study for finals
  • Take a wellness break! Get some more sleep, take a walk, go to a movie, anything other than applications and social media 🙂

Juniors

  • Review and plan a testing strategy
    • PSAT’s typically come out in December, take a practice ACT, decide which exam to take and look at Winter/Spring dates to book an official test date
    • Find a study habit that works for you. Not every tutor will be amazing, the key is consistent studying in a way that makes sense to you…this could be online, one-on-one, a book or a group.
  • Build consistent study strategy for finals
    • Junior year grades are important, so while you may be thinking about the SAT ensure to prioritize your finals
  • Tour a college (or colleges!)
  • Have at least three colleges of interest and a list of reasons why you like it
  • Create/update a current resume (your list of activities and awards)

Sophomores

  • Build consistent study strategy for finals
  • Tour a college (or colleges!)
  • Create/update a current resume (your list of activities and awards)
  • Take a personality assessment
  • Review PSAT results and take them with a grain of salt
    • You may be at a school that takes the PSAT in March (that’s us!) and that’s perfectly okay too, no need to panic!
    • You have plenty of time to prepare for testing in Junior year, use the scores as a guideline and move on with your life
  • Explore summer plans/programming
    • Colleges do NOT care what you end up doing, but they do care that they are meaningful, bring you joy/purpose, so think about the larger picture, your interests, skills, where you want to explore
    • Use THIS guide from Collegewise to get a sense of how to spend your time and how college admissions will view it

Freshman

  • Build consistent study strategy for finals
    • Really take note of which classes you’re doing well in, what your interests and strengths are and think about your Sophomore year schedule, grades and course rigor are a big factor in an admissions decision, so set yourself up for academic success and a transcript that grows with your strengths and what classes are offered to you
  • Tour a college (or colleges!)
    • Never too early! If you’re visiting somewhere for the holidays, check out the local school, regardless of the name, just explore!
  • Create a resume (your list of activities and awards)
  • Explore summer plans/programming
    • Colleges do NOT care what you end up doing, but they do care that they are meaningful, bring you joy/purpose, so think about the larger picture, your interests, skills, where you want to explore
    • Use THIS guide from Collegewise to get a sense of how to spend your time and how college admissions will view it

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