Getting into the school of your choice takes a lot of preparation, and it all has to start at least by your junior year, if not even earlier. Senior year is crammed with activities, paperwork, emotional turmoil, and last chances, and having a plan beforehand will help you to be ready for the whirlwind when it hits.
1. Get a feel for what you want.
- Where do you want to live?
- What’s your dream school?
- Do you know anyone there who can give you advice or host you for a visit?
You’ll have limited time senior year for visits and second-guessing (most applications are due January 1st, giving you less than a semester before you need to buckle down and finish them), so why not use junior year to get all that stress out of the way so you can focus?
2. Spend time on a great personal statement.
Chances are you’ll use it a lot, for a few different schools, with only a little bit of tweaking for each one. Make sure you have a great base essay to work with.
3. Keep up with your schoolwork.
It is so hard to balance schoolwork, college stuff, and social sanity, so get your practice in before senior year sets in and all three of those commitments get pushed into high gear.
4. Plan a trip to see your dream geographical college location…in the worst time of the year, if possible.
You don’t want to move up to the Northeast from California with no idea what you’re dealing with when wintertime rolls around. Try to get a feel for the climate. Make sure it’s one you want to live in for four years.
5. Spend time with your friends.
Pre-college drifting can set in as early as senior year, if you’re going to college somewhere far away from your close friends, chances are you’ll regret not having spent some time with them before life got away from you both. You’ll still come home for breaks and you’ll want to keep up with the people you grew up with. Keep them close!