For those hoping to apply to a university the fall of your senior year, there's a lot more preparation than just hitting send. Sure, your grades might be good, but that's not all colleges are looking for nowadays. If you want to give the right impression to admissions offices, it's best to start early. That being said, here are six things juniors should do to prepare for college future applications.
1. Join Clubs
Everyone knows that colleges look for extracurriculars, but no one wants to see you hop on the bandwagon the September of your senior year. Start now and get invested in organizations, that way by September, you will have more experience in the club to put on your application.
2. Look at Colleges
Don't wait until application season to sniff around the area. Check out colleges now, that way when you're doing research and applying you'll know what you're looking for.
Make sure to check out small colleges and big universities, state and private schools, inner-city campuses and suburban areas. It's all very different and you might end up liking something you hadn't thought of. If you start looking in junior year, you'll know how to narrow your search and in the end, find your right fit.
This should be a give anyways, but your junior year grades really are most important. Since they're the last full year of grades that colleges have access to during the fall of your senior year, they look into each quarter, unlike freshman and sophomore year. So, make it count and take those few extra hours to look over your notes. You'll be glad you did.
4. Consider a Major
Some schools don't require this when applying, but I would highly recommend looking around now. At the very least, get a general sense of what you want to study. Oftentimes, that can be important when looking at schools because you want to know if your interests are even available at the institution. You may love a school, but if it isn't good logistic-wise for your future, you might want to rethink it.
5. Write Your Common App Essay
No seriously, start a draft of your common app essay. Most years, the questions are the same, so just start jotting down some ideas. Come application season, you'll be so busy with FAFSA, College Board's CSS Profile and supplement essay questions for colleges that you'll be happy to get this out of the way.
Do your research. Take your time with it. This one essay shows a college who you are, outside of your application. It's often the only place where they get to hear your voice aside for statistics and clubs. Make sure that you stand out.
6. Get an Internship
This isn't always available, depending on your major. However, if it is, this definitely puts you ahead of other applicants. Colleges want to see that you're equipped for the material they're going to assign in classes, that you'll become successful and make more kids want to go there. Internships can only help.
Think of it as a test-run for after college. If you don't like the internship you thought you'd love, maybe you need to think more into your major and plan accordingly.
There's are many tasks that shouldn't be left until the last minute when it comes to applying to college. Although it's tempting to procrastinate your future, since it gets scarier as it approaches from the review mirror, it's always good to plan ahead. So, get a start on these things now to lessen the stress when application season really creeps up. You'll be grateful you did.
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