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Top 7 Things Rising Seniors Should Do This Summer

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If you’re like most rising seniors, you’ve been getting quite a few questions about college lately that you don’t have the answers to yet. Now is a great time for you to take control of your college application process and continue on your journey to college.

tips for rising seniors

The summer presents a great opportunity to get a jump start on your planning and preparation. This will go a long way toward alleviating some of the pressure once you’re back at school, busy juggling applications along with classes and extracurricular commitments.

1. Review your test plan.

If you’re taking a test for the first time or considering retaking a test, look at the test schedules, choose your test date, and take note of registration deadlines. If you’re thinking about applying for early decision, confirm with the college the last possible test date that will be accepted.


2. Continue to research your college options.

Begin by reading individual school websites—so much information is available online. You might also consider reading a college guide, such as the Fiske Guide to Colleges, for more information on schools that you’re interested in.

As you do your online research, be sure to look at the admissions and financial aid sections. You should also review academic programs, course offerings, and majors.

Identify the type of college experience you’re looking for and get familiar with different types of colleges and universities as you develop your list. Campus visits are the best way to get a feel for a school and can help you to narrow down your choices. To learn about a school’s personality, look for information on clubs, extracurriculars, Greek life, and athletics. You can also find facts about the makeup of this year’s freshman class online. Look at the blogs on College Countdown and Bound to Organize for helpful information and additional online resources.


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3. Talk to your parents.

Now is a good time to talk to your parents about how your family plans to pay for college. Also, be sure you discuss the distance between your home and your college options. It’s important that you and your family are comfortable with how far from home you intend to be.


4. Meet with your guidance counselor.

If your guidance or college counselor is available this summer, schedule a meeting to strategize. Be sure to discuss the following topics with your counselor:

  • Your test schedule for the fall.
  • Your preliminary college list.
  • Your choice of recommenders.
  • Your essay ideas.


5. Begin your college applications.

  • Once college applications are made available online in late summer, and the Common Application is made available online on August 1st, start working on them as soon as possible.
  • Review the essay topics on the Common Application and essays required on individual school forms. Put together ideas and start to work on them.
  • If you’re planning to submit supplemental materials, required or optional, look into submission requirements and prepare over the summer while you have the time. Save and back up all your work. Remember to continue do so throughout your college admissions process.


6. Consider how you’re representing yourself online.

If your email address reflects some funny nickname or private joke you have with your friends, it’s time to set up a new one. Choose one that is appropriate and easy to read. This is part of the identity that you’ll be presenting to admissions officers.


7. Keep track of your log-in information.

Take the time to jot down all your usernames and passwords for standardized tests, the Common App, and specific schools in one place and keep this list near your computer for convenience.


Make sure you don’t miss a single step of the application process.

Check out The College Bound Organizer in the College Countdown Bookstore today!



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Anna Costaras and Gail Liss are coauthors of The College Bound Organizer, the step-by-step guide to getting into the college of your choice. As cofounders of Bound to Organize LLC, the authors are dedicated to empowering students to successfully navigate the complicated college application process by providing a logical, easy-to-use organization system.

Anna Costaras holds a BS and MBA from New York University Stern School of Business. She is the founder of a college-bound mentoring program for disadvantaged students from her community. She also serves on the Board of Directors of Adventures in Learning, an educational enrichment program for children in need of after-school support.

Gail Liss earned an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business, studied at The London School of Economics, and holds a BA from the University of Rochester. Gail serves on the Advisory Board of Young Women’s Leadership Network, which supports The Young Women’s Leadership Schools and College Bound Initiative.

See The College Bound Organizer in the College Countdown Bookstore.