Your April College To-Do’s

April flowers
Hello college hopefuls! April means the Seniors are hearing back from the rest of their colleges (fingers crossed for good news!), and Juniors are visiting campuses across the country.  So much college fun going on!


Decide which college you will attend
You should have heard back from all of your colleges by now, or you will very soon. Size up your options on the CollegeMapper Financial Aid calculator and look at the costs. Call a college if you need more financial aid to go there, and if you are the first person from your family to go to college, be sure to tell them so. Ask a college if more aid is available–often it is!  Just ask.  If you need to visit the college before deciding to commit, April is the month to do that.

Don’t let money keep you from going to college
On the CollegeMapper Financial Aid page we help you brainstorm ways to afford college. There is always a way, so be creative, be persistent, and don’t give up!

Be sure to update your other colleges
When you have decided which college you will attend, be sure to tell your other schools so that they can offer your spot to some other student.

Deposit at your top choice college
BEFORE May 1st, be sure to deposit at your chosen college. Depositing holds your spot. Submit your housing application as soon as possible, and do not deposit at two schools because it is unethical (a deposit means you commit to going), unkind (some other poor soul remains on the wait list so you can have two options? Uncool.) and uneconomical (you will lose one deposit).

Continue to get great grades / Send Final Year Reports in June
Some colleges will ask to see your final Senior year grades, so be sure to keep your grades high and good now.

Buy your college sweatshirt
And wear it with pride!  You did it!


Narrow your college list
Start making a list of pros and cons of 5-10 colleges, just to see how you feel and what you like about schools. Use the college search tool on CollegeMapper and narrow your list to 20 schools, and then down to 10. As you research a random few you will start to see which criteria matter to you and then you will be able to narrow the list pretty quickly. Taking it down from 15 to that final 8-10 is always the hardest part!

Take the SAT and ACT
Be sure to take both tests, and start now if you haven’t already because you want to try to be finished by end of Junior year. Be sure to prep for the tests, too.  On the CollegeMapper Tests page we have lots of tips for great test-taking!

Continue volunteering
You simply must be volunteering now.  Be aware that all college applications will ask you to list about 7-10 clubs and activities you have been involved in.  Do something that matters to you and do it NOW.

Prepare for leadership
Most students get positions of leadership during Senior year, so start lining one up for yourself now. You don’t need more than 1 really, and you certainly don’t need 3 or 4. Aim for things like: captain, coach, mentor, officer, founder, counselor, organizer, chairperson, group leader, etc

Visit campuses
It’s time for Juniors to visit some campuses and begin to see which sorts of colleges are the best fit. Try to visit while school is session, and be sure to download the CollegeMapper handout on campus visits. These visits really help you understand what you are looking for in a school. If you have a lame tour guide or rainy weather, give the college another chance!

Keep your grades up
You really need to keep your grades up now because the GPA you have in June is the GPA you will apply to college with. You do not receive any Senior year grades before you apply to college. Colleges want to see what sort of a student you are right now, just before they consider you, so really do your best now! You can do it!

Choose summer plans
Do something academic and interesting this summer, even if it’s just for 3 days. There are all sorts of camps, workshops, seminars and conferences you can attend, and many of them are right in your own city. Juniors simply must do something college app oriented this summer, and aim for something that will help you decide what to major in.  You can also get a job, and the less glamorous, the better. Interning in an area of career interest for you is a GREAT idea!

Schedule your ACT or SAT test prep for this summer
It’s time, kiddo. Sadly, you have no choice but to prep in some way for these tests, because everyone else is prepping.  You can get a book and do it on your own, join in a small course at your local library or community college, take a course at a test prep center, or even get a test prep tutor.  But you do need to do something, and your local library will have books and practice tests you can use!  It’s super boring, but the payoff is HUGE in scholarship money, so invest the time now.


Sophs and Frosh:
Protect your GPA Keep doing all you can to succeed academically right now. Your high school grades matter–every one of them–and if you need academic support, or a quiet place to study, or a different way to study, *speak up*!  You need to advocate for yourself and protect your future, so do what you need to do to make success a reality.  Free tutoring is often available after school and at your local library, so get the help you need and get it soon.

Get involved in a club
Find at least one club that you can join and try to be in it for 4 years of high school. Don’t join so many that your grades suffer; just do a few things well.  🙂

Do some volunteer work
You guys really need to be volunteering now, so get started somewhere that matters to you. Try to serve at a place where you really believe in the cause and don’t expect to have a super important job right away. Be willing to start small and move up, but get in there now.

Choose some summer plans
You need to be thinking about how you will spend your summer. We have a great list of ideas on the CollegeMapper website under Resources.  Always check your public library, too, because they will have things going on and postings of offerings near by. Explore new interests in the summer and have fun!
Summer is around the corner, and these things that you are doing now will really pay off, so keep your head in the game a little longer. Vacation is coming!  🙂

Yay, college!


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