Your January College Action Items

2013 college to do's Hello College Hopefuls!  It’s January and while we can all take an itty-bitty breather after the Holidays, there is still a college in the air (and hopefully, snow for snow days)!  While we all pray for snow, here’s the run-down of what all of you can be doing right now to make all of your college dreams come true:
Make sure your college applications are complete
Be sure to log in using the link that each college emailed you and see if any pieces of your apps are missing. There may be some delay as they catalog pieces, so be patient, but stay on top of it!
Schedule any interviews you may not have
Interviews are a huge boost in admissions and be sure to check the CollegeMapper handouts for this.  We also have videos posted on site to help you prepare.  See the handouts on CollegeMapper under Resources, and watch our handy videos on this topic, too.
Update your colleges on any awards, honors, changes
If you have any news to tell your colleges about, be sure to do so.  This is also a great way to stay in touch with colleges and continue to show your interest.
Declare your first love
If you know of your clear first choice college, be sure to make sure that they know that. Write a brief letter or email, and get that somehow to your admissions rep at your top choice school.  Colleges aren’t mind-readers, so be sure to state your feelings.
Keep your grades strong
If a college asks to see your mid-year grades, they will need to be very strong. This request is made VERY often, so keep the grades strong and when they ask for them it will help you get in!  I have seen more than once a student not be accepted because of weak mid-year grades during Senior year.
Finish up your test prep or get it started
Be wrapping up your test prep now and starting to take the SAT and ACT. If you haven’t started test prep yet, you must do so now!  Even if you just use a book from the library, do something and do it now.  🙂
Schedule your test dates
It’s time for you to schedule your tests and I recommend taking both the SAT and the ACT at least once each. Then see which you do better on and focus just on that one.  Check the CollegeMapper Test page for tips. Schedule them all now so that you get test centers near you, to save gas money.
Plan campus visits for Feb or April
This is one of the best ways to narrow your college list. Visiting when actual students are present is a great way to gauge if you would feel at home there or not.  There are great handouts for this on CollegeMapper, under Resources.
Get your best grades ever
Junior year grades are the ones the colleges look at the most closely. Be sure to enter your grades in CollegeMapper on the Classes page so I can advise you about your progress and how to strengthen it.
Work on your rec letters
Choose two targets: English or History teacher AND Math or Science teacher.  Your counselor also writes a letter for you, so do your best to be an angel and get to know these 3 people very well.  Above all, participate in class!
Line up leadership for Senior year
Senior year it is a great idea for you to have some leadership, like being an officer of a club, or a counselor, chairperson, mentor, coach or tutor.  Leadership really helps you on college applications.
Update your resume and volunteer
Be sure to keep updating your Resume on CollegeMapper so that you can be sure not to forget to list a single thing you do. This will really help you when you apply. Also, keep volunteering somewhere that you volunteered in 10th grade.  The more years you spend at a place, the better.
Sophs and Frosh:
Get great grades
Set your GPA high, guys, so that you will be in solid shape when classes get harder. Your GPA largely determines where you get accepted. Enter them on your Classes page of CollegeMapper and I can advise you on how to strengthen them.  🙂
Build your academic reputation
Teachers talk, so be nice to everyone and be a hard-working student who is always honest.  You need rec letters from two teachers to get into college, so start building them now.
Start volunteering somewhere each month, even if it’s just for two hours. Start now, so that you can do the same activity for 3 or even 4 years.  Check out the great list of ideas on CollegeMapper, under Resources.
That’s all that I can think of to torture you with about college this month, kids!  Have fun and keep checking your college list on CollegeMapper.  Yay, college!


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